Living in the Times of Love’s Death

  • Tereza Matějčková Faculty of Arts, Charles University
Keywords: Kottman, Love, Marriage, Luhmann, Freedom, Hegel, Modernity, Divorce


In his book Love as Human Freedom, Kottman suggests that only when societies create structures that respect individuality and subjective freedom does love realize its true potential. Consequently, it is only in modernity that marriage, till lately considered a realm of labor and life’s necessities, can become the realm of love as well. Thus, love relies on a social structure guaranteeing subjective freedom in order to evolve into a modality of freedom itself. In my interpretation of Kottman’s book, I will take up this Hegelian framework but offer an alternative reading. I suggest that love is not freedom; instead, it clashes with modern subjective freedom and, therefore, is the last (anti-modern) agent to introduce dramatic scenes, even a tragic worldview, into the “prosaic” (thus, “cooled down”) modern world.