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A biological trick? A timeless pursuit? A source of great anguish? The highest possible happiness? Romantic love is perhaps all of these things and more – which is, perhaps, why philosophers have such a seemingly endless affinity for mulling over the subject. This short TED-Ed video scripted by Skye Cleary, a philosophy lecturer at Columbia University and Barnard College in New York and a frequent Aeon contributor, traverses the centuries to investigate how famed philosophers have envisioned romantic love. So is it a way of satisfying Earthly human desires that interrupt the path to enlightenment, as Buddha believed? A devious way for nature to trick us into procreating, as suggested by Arthur Schopenhauer? Or a way to infuse our lives with meaning, as Simone de Beauvoir wrote? The answer might just depend on your current relationship status.
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The ancient world
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Meaning and the good life
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Cognition and intelligence
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