The Focus of Love

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (7):508-522 (2021)
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It is widely agreed that the focus of love is ‘the beloved herself’—but what does this actually mean? Implicit in J. David Velleman’s view of love is the intriguing suggestion that to have ‘the beloved herself’ as the focus of love is to respond to her essence. However, Velleman understands the beloved’s essence to amount to the universal quality of personhood, with the result that the beloved’s particularity becomes marginalized in his account. I therefore suggest an alternative. Based on Søren Kierkegaard’s analysis of the self, I demonstrate that the beloved being ‘herself’ is determined by a quality—selfhood—that is both essential and particular to her. To have as the focus of love ‘the beloved herself,’ I claim, is to respond to this quality, which is to respond to her individual essence.



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Sharon Krishek
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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References found in this work

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
Love as a moral emotion.J. David Velleman - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):338-374.
Love as valuing a relationship.Niko Kolodny - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (2):135-189.
Loving Someone in Particular.Benjamin Bagley - 2015 - Ethics 125 (2):477-507.

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