An acclaimed philosopher offers a systematic mapping of the various facets of love.
``Love is freedom in the midst of conditionality,'' declares humanistic philosopher Singer in a wise, lucid, profound meditation on the essential role of love in our lives. Disputing both Freud and Sartre, who believed that all love is at bottom self-love, the MIT professor regards love as the principal means by which we seek affective relations to persons, things or ideals that have value and importance to us. Choosing illustrative examples from literature, opera, film and religion, Singer ( The Nature of Love ) plumbs the diverse manifestations of universal emotion--sexual love, love of self, parental and filial love, friendship, love of pets, of nature, of humanity and God. Although Singer eschews self-help advice, readers may derive practical guidance from his analysis of interdependent love relationships whereby each partner bestows meaning and value on the other without sacrificing autonomy. (May)