Love and history

Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (3):246-271 (2010)
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Abstract

In this essay, I argue that a proper understanding of the historicity of love requires an appreciation of the irreplaceability of the beloved. I do this through a consideration of ideas that were first put forward by Robert Kraut in “Love De Re” (1986). I also evaluate Amelie Rorty's criticisms of Kraut's thesis in “The Historicity of Psychological Attitudes: Love is Not Love Which Alters Not When It Alteration Finds” (1986). I argue that Rorty fundamentally misunderstands Kraut's Kripkean analogy, and I go on to criticize her claim that concern over the proper object of love should be best understood as a concern over constancy. This leads me to an elaboration of the distinct senses in which love can be seen as historical. I end with a further defense of the irreplaceability of the beloved and a discussion of the relevance of recent debates over the importance of personal identity for an adequate account of the historical dimension of love

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Christopher Grau
Clemson University

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