We’re counting on pharmaceutical companies to save humanity from the virus that’s wreaking havoc with life around the world, but can they help in the more personal and intimate sphere of love and romance? Brian Earp and Julian Savulescu explore the question in the book Love Drugs, which is reviewed in this issue by Troy Jollimore. Not entirely sold on chemical interventions, he points out that “there are many ways of trying to help love last or expire.”
Emrys Westacott reviews a small book on a big subject – On Being Me, by David Velleman. The book explores those basic questions of philosophy that have to do with the self, remaining the same person over time, personal responsibility, and death. But also the nature of regret and “wanting to be loved.” Westacott says that Velleman is the rare philosopher who is hesitant about some of his positions, and even occasionally admits to being confused. Yet he’s also consummately reflective, Westacott observes; perhaps to the point that his observations of the self are observations of a rather unusual self.
Some of us are reading as voraciously as usual, but for those finding focus elusive, we have two reviews of things to watch. Charles Peterson’s review of Spike Lee’s new movie Da 5 Bloods is an appreciation of that movie but also a celebration of Lee’s whole cinematic output and the movies that inspired him. Jean Kazez also writes about what she’s been watching, from pandemic hits like Contagion and Outbreak to 60s television to the latest in heady, perplexing, more-or-less philosophical TV. Time travel, anyone? Dark, the German Netflix series, makes it seems terribly possible but possibly terrible. We could use it these days, not to go anywhere antiquated or exotic, but just to do all the things we used to take for granted, like sitting in restaurants and going to bookstores.