Plutarch's Table

Love and Monogamy – Thanks for coming out! | March 31, 2014

A huge thanks to all who came out for the Love and Monogamy salon. Between our wonderful guest speaker and highly engaged participants, I think it was a fun and stimulating event. I know it gave me a lot to think about, in terms of being more open to questioning the conventions and habits of monogamy that we take for granted.

I know some guests were interested in reading some of the books that were mentioned, so I’ve put together a bibliography of all the titles I can think of, as well as some references from Ronnie’s book that may not have been mentioned but that sound really interesting.

Also, as always I welcome feedback. I am still unsure about the format of the salons that I host myself  – should we have a full buffet-style dinner (which would be more expensive), or a Sunday afternoon wine and cheese (which would be a little cheaper). What are people generally willing to pay? I don’t want cost to be prohibitive, but I also like it to be enjoyable in the food and drink department. Are weekends best or would a weekday after work be more convenient? So comments and suggestions are welcome, in this and any other aspect of the set-up. I’m also always looking for good topics, so suggestions for that are welcome.


Here are the books:

Easton and Hardy. The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures.

Kipnis, Laura. Against Love (which I think should really be called against marriage, or perhaps against cohabitation…)

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (an excellent book that questions monogamy somewhat but is focused on long-term relationships)

Sternberg, Robert. various articles, though he has a book called The New Psychology of Love.

Kolodny, Niko. various articles (google “Love as Valuing a Relationship”)

Mitchell, Stephen. Can Love Last? The Fate of Romance over Time.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living (not entirely on topic, but it was mentioned in the context of learning to be more comfortable with insecurity)


– and of course look for Ronald de Sousa’s forthcoming book Love: A Vert Short Introduction (a fascinating philosophical look at love – the discussion of polyamory is only a small part of it).

* most of these are written by psychologists rather than philosophers, with the exception, I think, of Kolodny. But the nature of our topic seems to have taken us into this territory! If you want more philosophical accounts (besides Ronnie’s book and Plato’s Symposium, of course), email me for suggestions. And if you know of any good books I’ve missed, feel free to let me know and I’ll add them.





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About author

My name is Joanna Polley. I am a writer and a philosopher experimenting with ways of practicing and teaching philosophy outside of the university environment. I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto and have taught for several years in the departments of philosophy and literary studies, and am currently exploring ways to bring philosophy out of the ivory tower and into the wider public sphere. My specific research interests have been in the history of philosophy, philosophy of language and culture and the philosophy of literature, but I am interested in any philosophy that helps illuminate contemporary problems and deepens our experience of being alive. You can also visit me at for information about my philosophical therapy services.







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