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ISBN 0-8126-9457-0
$25.95      paper
288 pages

Love and the Abyss
An Essay on Finitude and Value

Ralph D. Ellis

How can we best come to terms with our finitude—the stark reality that we are vulnerable and fallible, that our lives will soon come to an end, and that the world itself is an ephemeral episode in the evolution of the cosmos?  This universal quandary of human existence is especially troubling in a narcissistic culture such as our own.
            Traditionally, religion has helped humans ease the pain of finitude by offering love objects such as saints and deities in whom to invest admiration intensified by compassion.  An increasingly conspicuous alternative is the attempt to find the value of being in the experience of erotic and spiritual love for another individual.

Although this trend has often been derogated as inadequate and an aberration, Ralph Ellis sees it as a phenomenon to be understood on an equal footing with traditional religious approaches.  He explores and defends the role of romantic love in creating positive value experience and looks at some of the pitfalls we may encounter.

 “Ellis takes on the big questions in this book.  And he offers big, elegant answers.  Love and the Abyss possesses and promotes two of the traits it says much about: courage and compassion in the face of the finite predicament.  Read this book and awaken; read it and be changed for the better.”
Charles W. Harley                                                            Author of Husserl’s Phenomenology and the Foundations of Natural Science

“It is rare to say something meaningful and informative about relationships to an audience trained to think deeply.  Ralph Ellis succeeds marvelously. It is a pleasure to read one of our keenest minds writing about what happens in the best kinds of human relationships.”
—Peter Zachar
Author of Psychological Concepts and Biological Psychiatry

Love and the Abyss encourages us to take a step forward into difficult and dangerous territory. The association of eros, religious feeling, and existential finitude has long vexed philosophers and anyone else who has ever experienced intense love for another person. Ralph Ellis has succeeded in saying something practical, profound, and substantially new.
Randall E. Auxier
Editor, The Library of Living Philosophers


Ralph D. Ellis is professor of philosophy at Clark Atlanta University and editor of the interdisciplinary journal Consciousness and Emotion.  His books include Eros in a Narcissistic Culture (1996), Just Results (1998), Questioning Consciousness (1995), Theories of Criminal Justice (1989), and An Ontology of Consciousness (1986).



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