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Love Academy *

On Valentine's Day we welcome you to the 'Love Academy'! Come and hear what academics have to say about love. Learn more about 'The evolution of seduction', 'What love songs reveal about our concept of love', 'Hacking Intimacy', and about 'Love as a mental disease'. (language: English)

Program information
Date Thursday, February 14, 2019
Time 13:30-16:00 hrs.
Location Black Box, Esplanade building, Tilburg University
Admission Free entrance
Speaker Assistant professor Annemie Ploeger, professor Ad Vingerhoets, Phd-student Lisa Rombout , professor Wim Dubbink
Language English
Contact Annelieke Koster
Organization Academic Forum in cooperation with I*ESN
*Certificate This activity may count towards the Academic Forum Certificate
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Love Academy

"Love is a many splendored thing,

Love lifts us up where we belong,

All you need is love"

We all know what love is... right? At least, we all think we do. We understand the main idea of love. Yet, love also remains a mystery to most of us. Love has been described as something like a backache: “It doesn’t show up on X-rays, but you know it’s there.”
Learn more about 'The evolution of seduction',  'What love songs reveal about our concept of love', 'Hacking Intimacy', and about 'Love as a mental disease'.

With contributions by assistant professor Annemie Ploeger (UvA), professor Ad Vingerhoets, phd-student Lisa Rombout, and professor Wim Dubbink (all Tilburg University).


13:30   The evolotion of seduction, by Annemie Ploeger

14:05   Love as a mental disease, by Ad Vingerhoets

14:35   Break

15:00   Hacking intimacy, by Lisa Rombout

15:30   A philosophical analysis of love songs, by Wim Dubbink


(click on the title in a slider bar for more information)

The evolution of seduction - Annemie Ploeger

The evolution of seduction

We all know how beautiful the peacock’s tail is. But from an evolutionary perspective, it does not make a lot of sense. It takes a lot of energy to maintain such a great ornament, it makes one clearly visible for predators, and one easily gets stuck in the bushes. The founding father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, already worried about this tail. He famously wrote to a colleague: ‘The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!’ How to explain this kind of ornaments from an evolutionary perspective? The answer is: seduction. With such costly signals, evolved by the process of sexual selection, it is much easier to attract partners and to be reproductively successful. The question I will address in my presentation is whether human beings also have ornaments such as the peacock’s tail. I will follow Geoffrey Miller’s argument as outlined in his book The Mating Mind. He suggests that human beings have music, paintings, science, sports, and many other ways to show potential partners their reproductive value. It is even possible, he suggests, that the large human brain is the product of sexual selection, and not so much of natural selection. I will provide examples of empirical evidence in favor of Miller’s position, but a critical evaluation of his theory as well. I’ll invite the audience to contribute to this fascinating discussion with challenging questions.

Annemie Ploeger (1973) is lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She teaches in the fields of evolutionary and developmental psychology. Her research is focused on the evolution of mental disorders.

Love as a mental disease - Ad Vingerhoets

Love as a mental disease

Throughout ages, scholars have struggled with the conceptualization of being in love. Some considered it as an emotion, others as a motivational state, and, already in classic times, the notion that it could be considered as a disease state was popular. In my contribution, the focus will be on each these conceptualizations. I will conclude with my private view of the function of being in love.

Ad Vingerhoets is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Tilburg University. His expertise is in the areas of stress, emotions, and quality of life. His special interest is devoted to specific themes like crying and stress and leisure, as well as the development of new assessment tools to measure quality of life.

Hacking Intimacy - Lisa Rombout

Hacking Intimacy

Technology is inseparably connected to all aspects of our lives, including our intimate relationships with others - we often enjoy the company of friends and family through technological means. We have also developed relationships with the technology itself - we talk to our Roomba, care for our Tamagotchi, have separation anxiety over our smartphone, and enjoy technology-mediated sexual experiences. There are many scientific and commercial efforts to develop companion robots, but many of the commercially available technology is designed for a very narrow definition of sexuality and intimacy.

In this talk Lisa Rombout will discuss patterns and findings in the commercial and scientific development of companionship technologies.

Lisa E. Rombout is PhD Candidate Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University. Lisa is a two-time winner of Goldsmith Universities' SexTechHack.

A philosophical analysis of love songs - Wim Dubbink

A philosophical analysis of love songs: The sacrifice of love

Perhaps the craziest question that a philosopher can ask nowadays is whether the idea of love is really understood in our culture. The modern conception of love is 'romantic love' and ninety percent of all love songs concern romantic love. The lines are always the same: "I love you", "I need you", "I sacrifice anything for you", and so on and so forth. Of course we do understand love! Love is simply the thing we want most; it is like any other thing we want (comparable to cars and iPhones) with the difference that for most people love is at top position. Yet, if love can be understood as a need that can be satisfied by coming to possess it, why do so many love songs also speak of "opening up to love", "begging for love", "being prepared to wait forever" and "building my hopes upon you". This suggest that there is something awkward about trying to understand love as just another need or preference that can be satisfied by coming to possess a good. This awkwardness becomes manifest if a lover asks you: "if you love me because you need me, do you really love me or do you actually only love yourself".

In the seminar we will analyze the modern conception of romantic love. It will be shown that romantic love between human beings can only be understood in the context of medieval thinking about the relation between human beings and God. Naturally, in this thinking loving is the total opposite of a need that can be satisfied by coming to possess it. It requires the beloved to make a sacrifice. The lover only has to open-up: to disarm for love.

Wim Dubbink is Professor of Business Ethics at the Tilburg University department of Philosophy. His main research project is the development of a Kantian theory of the market. This theory involves both a moral theory on the duties of individual market actors and a political theoretical theory positioning the market in a liberal democratic context.

When: 14 February 2019 13:30

End date: 14 February 2019 16:00