Bestowal without appraisal: Problems in Frankfurt's characterization of love and personal identity [Book Review]

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (2):153 - 168 (2009)
Harry Frankfurt characterizes love as “a disinterested concern for the existence of what is loved, and for what is good for it.” As such, he views romantic love as an inauthentic paradigm for love since such love desires reciprocation, sexual gratification and so on. I argue that Frankfurt’s conception of love is (a) too general—he does not distinguish between the type of love one has for one’s partner, one’s country, a moral ideal, etc., (b) it overemphasizes the role of bestowal at the expense of the part played by appraisal and (c) it is insufficiently social. Certain forms of love, romantic love and friendship for instance, are defined largely in terms of reciprocation. For Frankfurt, reciprocation is somewhat of an accidental feature of love. This deficiency in Frankfurt’s conception of love can be traced to a problem in his conception of selfhood which I argue is insufficiently social in nature.
Keywords Frankfurt  Bestowal  Appraisal  Romantic love  Social identity  Identification  Historicity  Agape  Eros  Reciprocity  Care  Self-love
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References found in this work BETA
Harry G. Frankfurt (2007). The Reasons of Love. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):463-475.
Niko Kolodny (2003). Love as Valuing a Relationship. Philosophical Review 112 (2):135-189.
Robert Kraut (1987). Love De Re. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1):413-430.

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