Love and the Anatomy of Needing Another

In Manuel Vargas & John Doris (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press (2022)
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The idea that we need our beloveds has a rich and longstanding history in classic literature, pop culture, social sciences, and of course, philosophical treatments of love. Yet on little reflection, the idea that one needs one’s beloved is as puzzling as it is familiar. In what, if any sense, do we really need our beloveds? And insofar as we do need them, is this feature of love something to be celebrated or lamented? In the relevant philosophical literature, there are various ways of understanding the type(s) of psychological need internal to love and whether and how the necessity in question contributes to love’s value. In this chapter, I survey and critically analyze several accounts of felt necessity in love and advocate for a philosophically neglected perspective on the nature and value of needing our beloveds.



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Monique Wonderly
University of California, San Diego

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