Concerning Self-Love: Analytic Problems in Frankfurt's Account of Love

Essays in Philosophy 12:1 (January 2011), pp. 55-67

13 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2013

See all articles by Alan Soble

Alan Soble

University of New Orleans

Date Written: March 1, 2010

Abstract

In The Reasons of Love, Harry Frankfurt proposes a philosophical account of love according to which there are four necessary conditions for the occurrence of love. We may ask reasonable questions about these four conditions: (1) Is each condition adequately analytically defined? (2) Is each condition plausibly a necessary condition for love, and has Frankfurt defended their necessity with good arguments? (3) Are all four conditions consistent with each other? And (4) if the four conditions are only necessary, and hence tell us only when love is absent, what must be added to Frankfurt’s account which would tell us, just as importantly, when love is present? In this essay I address these questions, although some more than others, especially in trying to understand Frankfurt’s claims about “self-love.” It emerges from this investigation that Frankfurt’s central metaethical thesis, which he has been advancing for three decades — that caring about or loving something logically precedes valuing it, and hence that we cannot have value-mentioning reasons for loving something or someone — starts to fall apart.

Keywords: Love, Self-Love, Frankfurt, Reasons and Love

Suggested Citation

Soble, Alan, Concerning Self-Love: Analytic Problems in Frankfurt's Account of Love (March 1, 2010). Essays in Philosophy 12:1 (January 2011), pp. 55-67. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2336284

Alan Soble (Contact Author)

University of New Orleans ( email )

2000 Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148
United States

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