Lecture Notes

Special software is required to use some of the files in this section: .rm.

During the fall of 2004, four sessions of 24.261 were recorded especially for OpenCourseWare. Below are links to the videos, along with breakdowns of the video content.

These files are also available from iTunes® and YouTube™.

Session 1

Video: (RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

1 Prof. Singer introduces himself and format of class meetings. 00:00:15
2 Singer discusses his new essay on same-sex marriage, included in a new version of his book, Sex: A Philosophical Primer. 00:02:25
3 Singer outlines a philosophy of pluralism. 00:07:12
4 Singer describes himself as a disciple of Socrates, for whom the most important question was how to live: how to live a good life, how to live with other people. 00:10:53
5 Singer defines philosophy as a conceptual art form, with 2 ingredients: a philosopher must be highly trained in logic, and a Ph.D. is certification of this; also philosophy must be in conversation with the fine arts and humanistic subjects, to address Socratic issues of how to live. 00:14:28
6 Singer instructs students to fill out information cards; students then introduce themselves and discuss their academic interests. 00:20:50
7 Singer makes the point that in the last 20 years, more than ever before in America, so much of music, literature, advertising, and other areas of culture appeals to some aspect of our sexual interest. 01:04:02
8 An important attitude in philosophy, Singer says, is to realize how little you know, and how important the process of investigation is. 01:10:25
9 Singer reviews the course reading list and requirements. 01:15:00
10 Singer discusses his views on homosexuality and his decision to write an essay on same-sex marriage. 01:23:02
11 Discussion of the next assigned reading, Singer's The Pursuit of Love. 01:36:32
12 Continuing overview of the syllabus, including myths of Tristan und Isolde and Don Juan. 01:43:25
13 Singer articulates his definitions of love and sex. 02:28:25

Session 2

Video: (RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

1 Class starts with discussion of Singer's same-sex marriage chapter. 00:00:01
2 Singer reviews history of homosexuality in literature and art; discusses the work of Marcel Proust, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. 00:03:40
3 Singer reviews Freud's theories on bisexuality and latent homosexuality. 00:10:12
4 Singer explains 2 issues that come up in debates over same-sex marriage: legitimization and benefits. 00:15:35
5 Singer discusses cultural stereotypes about homosexuals. 00:27:05
6 Singer and student discuss various levels of tolerance for homosexuality in different states in the U.S. 00:45:07
7 Singer discusses common attitudes among groups seeking political liberation: assimilationist and separatist. 00:48:25
8 Singer relates issues of religious discrimination to this debate. 00:52:00
9 Class discusses how different religious denominations view same-sex marriage. 01:01:25
10 Discussion, from the perspective of philosophy, of the concept of what constitutes family. 01:12:20
11 Veronica starts presentation on The Pursuit of Love, beginning with chapter on 2 myths of love. 01:25:26
12 Singer outlines a romantic theory of love, and continues discussion from there. 01:29:12
13 Discussion of distinctions between falling in love, being in love, staying in love. 01:48:43
14 Singer talks about intersections between marriage and feelings of love, between sexual activity and love. 02:03:02
15 Singer discusses the relevance of hormones and developments in contraceptive technologies to patterns of sexual activity. 02:13:25

Session 3

Video: (RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

1 Singer begins with quotation by Dorothy Parker. 00:00:10
2 Myraida starts presentation on the chapter on sexual love. 00:01:30
3 Singer takes over with a mini-lecture on Greek and Christian concepts of love. 00:03:42
4 Discussion of Saint Augustine. 00:13:52
5 Discussion of love in Judaic tradition. 00:22:15
6 Review of 4 concepts of Greek love; discussion of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther. 00:31:40
7 Myraida continues presentation with discussion of sin. 00:41:12
8 Myraida reviews Singer's definition of sexual love as having 3 aspects: the libidinal, the erotic, and the romantic. 00:49:40
9 Singer talks about Freud's theories on the libido, and the distinction between libidinal and the libido. 00:56:20
10 Myraida turns discussion to the erotic. 01:04:42
11 Discussion of the romantic, of monogamy and polygamy. 01:31:30
12 Discussion of chapter on love and society; of relationship between shared values and friendship and love. 01:35:35
13 Student raises question on the relationship between judgment of a person's redeeming values and feelings of love. 02:00:00
14 Singer moves to next chapter on stage theory: peer love as a necessary condition for mature love. 02:16:25
15 Discussion of self-love as a necessary condition for loving others; Nietzsche's idea of the superman. 02:28:30
16 Brief mention of other topics in the chapter on love and society: compassion, love of country, religious love. 02:41:40

Session 4

Video: (RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

1 Singer announces beginning of the third part of the course; the first related to his book The Pursuit of Love, the second focused on myths of love, and the third is based on his book Explorations of Love and Sex. 00:00:01
2 Singer leads discussion of readings on the issues of appraisal and bestowal. 00:14:16
3 Discussion of the relationship between selfishness and love. 00:28:20
4 Anecdote on Jacques Derrida; continuing discussion of appraisal and bestowal. 00:50:10
5 Discussion of the question of acceptance of freedom versus paternalism. 01:22:50
6 Singer talks about his work on the book The Harmony of Nature and Spirit. 01:39:40
7 Student raises the topic of the love of things. 01:46:00
8 Discussion of whether reciprocity is necessary for the experience of love. 01:59:30
9 Discussion of personification of things as it relates to love; also, the issue of artificial intelligence. 02:17:07