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200 × 120 × 17 mm
184 pages
01 Feb 2017

A Philosophy of Loneliness Kerri Pierce, Lars Svendsen

Loneliness is a difficult subject to address, because it has such negative connotations. But the truth is that wherever there are people, there is loneliness: everyone is lonely at some point in their lives. You can be

lonely in a crowd or at home, outdoors or in an empty church, and countless songs have been written about the condition. For many people, loneliness can significantly impact their quality of life and their physical and mental health. At the same time, our best moments can come when we are alone, and this can tell us something important about our place in the world. But what exactly is loneliness? Who does it affect? Why does it occur, linger and disappear? Lars Svendsen investigates both the positive and the negative sides of loneliness in this thoughtful new book.

Drawing on the latest research in the fields of philosophy, psychology and the social sciences, A Philosophy of Loneliness explores the different kinds of loneliness, the philosophy of emotions, why some people are lonelier than others, and the psychological and social characteristics that dispose people to loneliness. Svendsen looks at the role of friendship and love in our lives and argues that our main problem is not that there is too much loneliness in modern societies, but rather that there is too little solitude. This hugely important book is essential reading for all those who want to know more about this complex and profound state of being.

‘Lars Svendsen has written a book that brings both knowledge and wisdom to loneliness, that most intimate of moods.’ — Jeffrey Kosky, Washington and Lee University, author of Arts of Wonder: Enchanting Secularity

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Lars Svendsen is Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen, Norway. He is the author of many books including A Philosophy of Boredom (2004), Fashion: A Philosophy (2006), A Philosophy of Fear (2008), A Philosophy of Freedom (2014) and A Philosophy of Loneliness (2017), all published by Reaktion Books.


ONE The Essence of Loneliness

TWO Loneliness as Emotion

THREE Who are the Lonely?

FOUR Loneliness and Trust

FIVE Loneliness, Friendship and Love

SIX Individualism and Loneliness

SEVEN Solitude

EIGHT Loneliness and Responsibility