Romantic Love: A Philosophical Inquiry

Pennsylvania State University Press (1981)
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Abstract

Romantic love is subject to the same philosophical analysis, this book shows, as any other human experience such as selfhood, good and evil, or justice—even though most philosophers have neglected it. An appropriate method of inquiry here, the author holds, "must be an ontological theory; it must evaluate the reality of love in comparison to the other things we think are real." Part I examines the layman's conception of romantic love as a "mysterious, unanalyzable feeling." It also examines the psychologist's conception of romantic love as "an unmysterious natural phenomenon"—a drive. Part II turns to the sociologist's conception of romantic love as a social institution—"an interpersonal transaction with a social function." Part III concludes that romantic love is an objective social process which society makes possible "by granting the individual a private inner being which escapes typification by being literally unspeakable." Written with clarity, wit, and charm, _Romantic Love _will appeal to all intellectually curious readers including philosophers and social scientists

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