Lovers in Essence: A Kierkegaardian Defense of Romantic Love

New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press (2022)
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Abstract

"Romantic love is a defining phenomenon in human existence, and an object of heightened interest for literature, art, popular culture, and psychology. But what is romantic love and why is it typically experienced as so significant to our existence? Using central ideas from the philosophy of S2ren Kierkegaard as well as engaging with contemporary discussions in the philosophy of love, this book explores the nature of romantic love and philosophically substantiates its meaningfulness to an individual's life. It does so by developing a connection between love and selfhood, here explained in terms of one's distinct individuality. To be a self, it is claimed, is to possess a 'name,' that is, an individual essence. Further, the book argues, it is when we love that we regard people by their names; we respond to who they are. Accordingly, the idea anchoring the book is that love is a correspondence between essences: if Jane loves Edward, she responds to him being 'who he is,' by virtue of her being 'who she is.' The conception of being thus correspondent has important implications as to the moral and spiritual value of romantic love. Relying on Kierkegaard's analysis of the self, of faith, and of love - even if sometimes in a way that departs from Kierkegaard's explicit position - the book explores these implications. By doing this, it construes romantic love as a desirable phenomenon, emotionally, morally, and spiritually"

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Sharon Krishek
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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The Focus of Love.Sharon Krishek - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (7):508-522.

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