Liefde en persoonlijke identiteit | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 107, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244



What we love matters for who we are. The idea may be self-evident, but how should it be understood exactly? One way is to conceptualize the formative influence of love on our identities in terms of ‘identification’: loving shapes who we are as we (volitionally) with the interests of the beloved and accept them as our own. Harry Frankfurt has fleshed out an influential identification-view along these lines. However, the identification-account is insufficiently able to accommodate the ambiguous nature of everyday loving and the way in which these ambiguities affect our identity. A second way in which the formative influence of love on our identity can be conceptualized is as ‘relation’: we are indeed shaped by what we love but the (affective-volitional) character of the in which we stand to our loved ones determines our identity. The latter view is capable to account for ambiguous loves and corresponding ambiguities in the self. Also, it gives prominence to the practical problem of lov, that is, to the question of how to relate to the people we love. It offers a more realistic perspective on that problem, as it takes the enduring differences between us and our beloveds into account, as well as the intersubjective character of loving. In sum: how we love what we love shapes who we are.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Harry Frankfurt; identification; love; loving; personal identity; relation; Salamano; self
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