Advertisement

Synthese

pp 1–26 | Cite as

The possibility of fitting love: irreplaceability and selectivity

  • Hichem Naar
Article
  • 40 Downloads

Abstract

The question whether there are reasons for loving particular individuals (and not others), and what such reasons might be, has been subject to scrutiny in recent years. On one view, reasons for loving particular individuals (or, alternatively, what makes loving them fitting) are some of their qualities. A problem with crude versions of this view, however, is that they both construe individuals as replaceable in a problematic way and fail to do justice to the selectivity of love. On another view, by contrast, reasons for loving particular individuals have to do with our relationship with them. Even if it might accommodate the selectivity of love, the view—like crude quality views—ultimately faces worries stemming from replaceability. I argue for a view which combines the two views in a way that accommodates both the irreplaceable aspect under which individuals are loved and the fact that love is a selective response to them. On my view, reasons for loving particular individuals are some of their qualities as manifested in the context of a relationship with one. After spelling out the view, I discuss an important challenge facing it: what’s so special about actually being in touch—via a relationship—with certain qualities of an individual that would explain why we have special reasons to love them in particular? I consider inadequate answers to this question before putting forward my own.

Keywords

Love Reasons Appropriateness Fittingness Value Emotions 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Jerry Cederblom, Florian Cova, Julien Deonna, Rodrigo Diaz, Fritz-Anton Fritzson, David Furrer, Laura Grams, Lara Jost, William Melanson, Andrew Newman, Fabrice Teroni, Jona Vance, and audiences at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the THUMOS research group in Geneva for discussion, and to Antoine Taillard for a commentary, on a previous draft of this paper. Special thanks go to Chris Grau, Michele Palmira, and three anonymous reviewers for detailed and extremely helpful written comments.

References

  1. Abramson, K., & Leite, A. (2011). Love as a reactive emotion. Philosophical Quarterly, 61(245), 673–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bagley, B. (2015). Loving someone in particular. Ethics, 125(2), 477–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brady, M. S. (2013). Emotional insight: The epistemic role of emotional experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cocking, D., & Kennett, J. (1998). Friendship and the self. Ethics, 108(3), 502–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dancy, J. (2004). Practical reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Davia, C., & Palmira, M. (2015). Moral deference and deference to an epistemic peer. Philosophical Quarterly, 65(261), 605–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Frankfurt, H. G. (2004). The reasons of love. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Grau, C. (2010). Love and history. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 48(3), 246–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hills, A. (2009). Moral testimony and moral epistemology. Ethics, 1, 94–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hills, A. (2016). Understanding why. Noûs, 50(4), 661–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hopkins, R. (2007). What is wrong with moral testimony? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 74(3), 611–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hsieh, N. (2016). Incommensurable values. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/value-incommensurable/#IncInc. Accessed August 23, 2018.
  13. Jollimore, T. (2011). Love’s vision. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Keller, S. (2013). Partiality. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kolodny, N. (2003). Love as valuing a relationship. Philosophical Review, 112(2), 135–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kolodny, N. (2010a). Which relationships justify partiality? The case of parents and children. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 38, 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kolodny, N. (2010b). Which relationships justify partiality? General considerations and problem cases. In B. Feltham & J. Cottingham (Eds.), Partiality and impartiality: Morality, special relationships, and the wider world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kvanvig, J. L. (2009). The value of understanding. In D. Pritchard, A. Haddock, & A. Millar (Eds.), Epistemic value (pp. 95–112). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McGrath, S. (2011). Skepticism about moral expertise as a puzzle for moral realism. Journal of Philosophy, 108(3), 111–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Naar, H. (2017). Subject-relative reasons for love. Ratio, 30(2), 197–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Naar, H. (forthcoming). Gratitude: Generic vs. deep. In R. Roberts, D. Telech (Eds.) The moral psychology of gratitude. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  22. Pritchard, D. (2009). Knowledge, understanding, and epistemic value. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 64, 19–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Robson, J. (2012). Aesthetic testimony. Philosophy Compass, 7(1), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schroeder, M. (2007). Slaves of the passions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Setiya, K. (2014). Love and the value of a life. Philosophical Review, 123, 251–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sliwa, P. (2015). Understanding and knowing. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 115, 57–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smuts, A. (ms.). In defense of the no-reasons view of love.Google Scholar
  28. Smuts, A. (2014). Normative reasons for love, part II. Philosophy Compass, 9(8), 518–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Velleman, J. D. (1999). Love as a moral emotion. Ethics, 109, 338–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Whiting, J. E. (1991). Impersonal friends. Monist, 74, 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zagzebski, L. (2001). The uniqueness of persons. Journal of Religious Ethics, 29(3), 401–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zangwill, N. (2013). Love: Gloriously amoral and arational. Philosophical Explorations, 16(3), 298–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

Personalised recommendations