The love lives of philosophers changed how we think

The lovers of wisdom and their lovers

What if we could tell the history of philosophy through the history of philosophers’ love lives? Like the rest of us, philosophers are mere humans, driven by their bodies and desires, not just their rational minds. Looking at the unrequited love of Nietzsche for Lou Salomé, Sartre’s open relationship with Simone de Beauvoir, Heidegger’s affair with Hannah Arrandt, and Foucault’s homosexuality, Warren Ward shows how tracing the links between their relationships and their philosophy can help us understand the origins and fate of much of modern European philosophy. 


In April 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche fell madly in love with Lou Salomé, a beautiful and fiercely independent young woman from St Petersburg. Soon after meeting her, he wrote to a friend:

Lou is the daughter of a Russian general and she is twenty years old; she is as shrewd as an eagle and as brave as a lion … and [seems} amazingly well prepared for my way of thinking and ideas.

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