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Quaestiones Disputatae

Volume 3, Issue 2, Spring 2013

Selected Papers on The Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand

Brian Sudlow
Pages 37-45

The Non-Violence of Love
A Hildebrand-Girard Encounter

If love is a social as well as a personal reality, it could be fruitful to compare von Hildebrand’s understanding of love and desire with that of cultural anthropologist René Girard. Girard depicts love and desire as a triangular process which arises from imitation, rather than the result of auto-generative affection. In this sense, Girardian theory would seem to convict von Hildebrand of what is called the “romantic lie” wherein desire is thought to arise through the mutual appreciation of two subjects. However, in The Nature of Love von Hildebrand shows awareness of the possibility that love can be awakened by imitation. Moreover, the lack of a sufficient reason in Girardian theory for avoiding violence can be answered by turning to von Hildebrand’s appreciation of the ontological basis for desire.