Romantic Love and Knowledge

Dialogue 47 (2):235-251 (2008)
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ABSTRACT: Romantic love and its predecessor eros have both been characterized as forms of egoistic love. Part of this claim is concerned specifically with the relation between love and knowledge. Real love, it is claimed, is prior to knowledge and is not motivated by it. Romantic love and eros according to this view are egoistic in that they are motivated by a desire for knowledge. Agapic love characterized by bestowal represents a true form of love unmotivated by selfish desires. I argue that such an emphasis on bestowal at the expense of knowledge or appraisal of the beloved is problematic. The knowledge dimension of romantic love, rather than contributing to selfishness, can be a means of freeing us from egoism when we understand identity in its relational or social form.RÉSUMÉ: L'amour romantique et son prédécesseur, Éros, sont tous deux considérés comme des lormes d'amour égoïste. Une partie de cette prétention concerne spécifiquement le lien entre l'amour et la connaissance : l'amour véritable précède la connaissance et n'est pas motivé par elle. Selon ce point de vue, l'amour romantique et Éros sont égoïstes parce qu'ils sont motivés par le désir de connaître. L'amour agapique d'autre part se caractérise par le don; il représente une forme d'amour véritable que ne motive aucun désir égoïste. Cet accent mis sur le don au détriment de la connaissance ou de l'appreciation de l'être aimé se révèle pourtantproblématique. La connaissance, qui caractérise l'amour romantique, représente un moyen de nous libérer de l'égoïsme au lieu de l'alimenter, lorsque nous acquérons une compréhension de l'identité sous sa lorme relationnelle et sociale.



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Gary Foster
Wilfrid Laurier University

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References found in this work

Love as valuing a relationship.Niko Kolodny - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (2):135-189.
Selfless Self-Love.Jan Bransen - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (1):3-25.

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