Redenen voor liefde | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 107, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244



Harry Frankfurt famously argues that loving someone is not done for reasons. While focusing on the (plausible) claims that parents need no reasons for loving their children and that it is absurd to ascribe a duty (or reason) to love X to someone who does not happen to love X, he overlooks an aspect of love that does connect it to reasons in a particular way: in daily conversation human beings spend enormous amounts of time and reflection to explaining and trying to understand love. I interpret the omnipresence of ‘love-talk’ as an indication of the nature of love in human beings: we love someone or something for reasons. Drawing on insights from the guise of the good-debate on the nature of desire, I argue that regardless of the infinite variety of things and persons that can be loved, the objects are all loved under the same form: the form of being lovable. The notion of a ‘lovability characterization’ entails a notion of ‘reasons’ that does not require reasons to be universalisable and that allows the loving-for-reasons view to avoid the fungibility-objection. In reply to the objection that the loving-for-reasons view makes love overly rationalistic, I point out that reason should not be understood as an external authority that commands us to do certain things, but as an internal power, integral to who we are, that shapes our conscious life, our mental attitudes and their objects.


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