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The Medicalization of Love

15th March 2020 · 7:00pm - 9:00pm

In person | Virtual event

 The Medicalization of Love

Is there a pill for love? What about an “anti-love drug”, to help us get over an ex? In this talk, Yale bioethicist and co-author of Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships will argue that certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA – the active ingredient in Ecstasy – may help ordinary couples work through relationship difficulties and strengthen their connection. Others may help severe an emotional connection during a breakup. These substances already exist, and they have transformative implications for how we think about love. Earp will build a case for conducting research into “love drugs” and “anti-love drugs” and explores their ethical implications for individuals and society.

The idea of drugs that intervene in our love lives may sound like a really bad one, the kind of sinister-sounding idea that is likely to generate an instinctive sense of horror or despair in anticipation of yet another aspect of our lives coming under the medical gaze, of new love-related mental disorders being manufactured by drug companies and added to the catalogue of disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), of a virulent form of bio-reductionism that reduces the complexities of love to neuronal firings in a particular part of the brain, and so on. Come along and find out if these fears for the future of our relationships are warranted!

The horse has bolted. Where it runs is up to us. Earp will arm us with the latest scientific knowledge and a set of ethical tools that we can use to decide if these sorts of medications should be a part of our society. Or whether a chemical romance will be right for us.

About the Speaker:

Brian D. Earp is Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and the Hastings Center and a Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. His recent book Love Drugs has been praised by Peter Singer as “a fascinating account of a future that is starting to unfold right now.”

This event is in the Bertrand Russell Room on the ground floor (accessible, with induction loop audio). For accessibility info:

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