Affinity and Reason to Love

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):117-136 (2013)
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Abstract

What is the nature of our reasons for loving something? Why does a particular person or activity stimulate our imagination and hopes more deeply than others do? Is the reason in the object of our affection or in ourselves? Much philosophical debate revolves around this dichotomy between objective and subjective reasons for loving. In this paper I will instead propose that our reasons are primarily relational, having to do with the concept of affinity. Affinity, defined as “fitness” between two parties, allows us to analyze loving activity in terms of a practical inference concerned with a long-term engagement in activities and relationships that are worthwhile and suitable to oneself. This approach does justice to the considerations on both sides of the debate.

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Alexander Jech
University of Notre Dame

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