The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.


A new philosophy of love

Sean Illing talks with Carrie Jenkins about her new book Sad Love, and her call to rethink the shape and boundaries of romantic love. In this far-ranging discussion about the meaning of romantic love, Sean and Carrie discuss the connection between love and happiness, what we should expect (and not expect) from our romantic partners, and whether or not loving a person must entail that we love only that person.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

Guest: Carrie Jenkins (@carriejenkins), writer; professor of philosophy, University of British Columbia


  • Sad Love: Romance and the Search for Meaning by Carrie Jenkins (Polity; 2022)
  • "A philosopher makes the case for polyamory" by Sean Illing (Vox; Feb. 16, 2018)
  • What Love Is: And What It Could Be by Carrie Jenkins (Basic; 2017)
  • Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (1949)
  • Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle (see Book I, or Book X.6-8 for robust discussion of eudaimonia)
  • Marina Adshade, economist
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (1946; tr. Ilse Lasch)

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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • Engineer: Patrick Boyd
  • Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall

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 2022-09-26  1h0m