Loving truly: An epistemic approach to the doxastic norms of love

Synthese 200 (3):1-23 (2022)
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Abstract

If you love someone, is it good to believe better of her than epistemic norms allow? The partiality view says that it is: love, on this view, issues norms of belief that clash with epistemic norms. The partiality view is supposedly supported by an analogy between beliefs and actions, by the phenomenology of love, and by the idea that love commits us to the loved one’s good character. I argue that the partiality view is false, and defend what I call the epistemic view. On the epistemic view, love also issues norms of belief. But these say simply that you should adhere to epistemic norms in forming and maintaining beliefs about loved ones. I offer two arguments for the epistemic view. The first appeals to the emotional responses of love, which, when sensitive to what the loved one is really like, can make love great and be morally transformative. The second is a new argument for why caring for a loved one requires true beliefs about him. We see that there may be some boundaries, such as stuffy traditions, that love is right to defy, but that epistemic boundaries are not among them.

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Katherine Dormandy
University of Innsbruck

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