Love and Free Will

Abstract

Many think that love would be a casualty of free will skepticism. I disagree. I argue that love would be largely unaffected if we came to deny free will, not simply because we cannot shake the attitude, but because love is not chosen, nor do we want it to be. Here, I am not alone; others have reached similar conclusions. But a few important distinctions have been overlooked. Even if hard incompatibilism is true, not all love is equal. Although we have only minimal control over love, it can be more or less authentic. I develop my position by considering the fictional trope of love potions and the implications of a futuristic psychotropic, Lovezac—Viagra for the heart. But I am not as optimistic as some. Even though free will skepticism would not jeopardize love-the-feeling, there are reasons to think that loving relationships might not be immune.

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Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College

Citations of this work

Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
Strawson’s modest transcendental argument.D. Justin Coates - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):799-822.
Hard incompatibilism and the participant attitude.D. Justin Coates - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (2):208-229.

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References found in this work

Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.

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