Marry or Don’t Marry, You Will Regret It Either Way
“Marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way,” Soren Kierkegaard once wrote pseudonymously. Was he right? Why do people marry? Should they? In marriage, people promise ‘till death do them part, but can marriage make love stay? Or is it actually the fastest way to cure lovers? Is marriage a good way to organize families, or is it a tool of the patriarchy that keeps men and women in gendered roles and best left shelved in history books? Is it, as Mary Wollstonecraft proposed, mostly just legal prostitution?
In this Olio on the philosophy of marriage, we will discuss its history, consider why it persists (even though its economic justifications such as maintaining wealth and creating power alliances are largely redundant), why it so often fails to live up to expectations, and the philosophical factors in choosing to marry—or not.
Teacher: Skye Cleary
Skye C. Cleary PhD MBA is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love, co-author of How to Live a Good Life, and teaches at Columbia, Barnard College, and the City College of New York.