What is the point of love?

Price, Carolyn (2012). What is the point of love? International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 20(2) pp. 217–237.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09672559.2011.629367

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com


Why should we love the people we do and why does love motivate us to act as it does? In this paper, I explore the idea that these questions can be answered by appealing to the idea that love has to do with close personal relationships (the ‘relationship claim’). Niko Kolodny (2003) has already developed a relationship theory of love: according to Kolodny, love centres on the belief that the subject shares a valuable personal relationship with the beloved. However, this account has some implausible consequences. I shall develop an alternative account, discarding the assumption that love centres on a belief, and beginning instead from a conception of love as an emotional attitude – which, I suggest, involves a form of evaluation that is not belief. As I explain, adopting this view allows us to interpret the relationship claim, not as a claim about the subject’s beliefs, but as a claim about the function of love. This approach allows us to answer the questions above, while avoiding the difficulties that confront Kolodny’s account. I end by exploring a case that might be thought to raise some difficulties for my account.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions