In Simon Cushing (ed.), New Philosophical Essays on Love and Loving. pp. 171–194 (2021)

Edgar Phillips
Institut Jean Nicod
Much recent discussion of love concerns ‘the reasons for love’: whether we love for reasons and, if so, what sorts of things those reasons are. This chapter seeks to call into question some of the assumptions that have shaped this debate, in particular the assumption that love might be ‘responsive’ to reasons in something like the way that actions, beliefs, intentions and ordinary emotions are. I begin by drawing out some tensions in the existing literature on reasons for love, suggesting that these arise in part because different interests expressed in the language of ‘reasons’ – the interests of explanation, justification and interpersonal understanding – pull us towards different kinds of account of reasons for love. This seems to count in favor of treating these interests separately, with different conceptions of the reasons that answer to them. This suggestion, as I explain, runs up against a certain conception of ‘responsiveness to reasons’, which I argue is implicitly assumed in many discussions of reasons for love. However, I argue that we should be skeptical about the application of this conception to love in light of the ontological differences between love and paradigm ‘reasons-responsive’ phenomena, potentially making room for the suggested methodological separation.
Keywords love  reasons responsiveness  rationalization  reasons for love  sentiments
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