Understanding the Phenomenon of Love
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The concept “love” can refer to different types of relationships. We use it when talking about our family, friends, romantic partners, pets, god(s), pieces of art, ideas, etc. and refer to love as if it happens to us, like a feeling, or as an action or behavior that we conduct, like an emotion or special deed, or even as a type of relationship that is had between two things. No matter what manifestation that love takes on or how it is described, the phenomenon that occurs is always the same. Of course we express love in different ways with different objects, like romantically with romantic partners and familially with family members, but the process for giving our husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, pets and everything else a special importance is the phenomenon of love My aim in this thesis is to explain the phenomenon of love. I will argue that love is a way of responding to an object through a process of appraising it for its subjective, intrinsic value and then bestowing the experience of that appraisal back onto the object as an extrinsic quality whereby the object becomes valuable and irreplaceably important. This way of looking at the phenomenon of love, through a value theory, is taken up as a compromise of the two popular value theories, The Appraisal View and The Bestowal View. Irving Singer makes arguments for uniting these actions of appraising and bestowing value into a theory of love however leaves much unexplained and thus comes under fire from his critics. My take on love will aim at explaining how a value theory that is a compromise between Appraisal and Bestowal can avoid the problems that are suggested by Singer’s critics and describe how love occurs.
PhD in Philosophy