Romantic Love

Essays in Philosophy 12 (1):68-92 (2011)
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Abstract

Nozick provides us with a compelling characterization of romantic love, but, as I argue, he under-describes the phenomenon, for he fails to distinguish it from attitudes that those who are not romantically involved may bear to each other. Frankfurt also offers a compelling characterization of love, but he is sceptical about its application to the case of romantic love. I argue that each account has the resources with which to complete the other. I consider a preliminary synthesis of the two accounts, which I find wanting. The synthesis I then favour relies upon two thoughts: each romantic partner has loving concern for a plural object viz. the two of them, and romantic partners are, in addition, beloved of a plural subject, viz. the two of them. A corollary is that Frankfurt is wrong to think that, whilst self-love is a pure form of love, romantic love is an impure form of love, for romantic love just is a form of self-love. In an appendix, I defend the coherence of the thought that love can have plural relata

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