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Historically, in the Western tradition, Plato’s Symposium presents the initiating text, for it provides an enormously influential and attractive notion that love is characterized by a series of elevations, in which base lust is superseded by a more intellectual conception of love which also is surpassed by what may be construed by a theological vision of love that transcends sensual attraction and mutuality. Since then there have been detractors and supporters of Platonic love as well as a host of alternative theories – including that of Plato’s student, Aristotle and his more secular theory of true love reflecting what he described as ‘two bodies and one soul.’
The philosophy of love is the field of social philosophy and ethics that attempts to explain the nature of love. The nature of love includes Agape (highest form of love; humanity), Philia (friendship) and Eros (sexual love). But there exists a word that is irreplaceable, of an idiosyncratic meaning extensively used by Persian poets, Sufis called Ishq.