Love, friendship, and moral motivation

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 42 (2):93-107 (2022)
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The love that we feel for our friends plays an essential role in both our moral motivation to act towards them; and in our moral obligations towards them, that is, in our special duties. We articulate our proposal as a reply to Stephen Darwall’s second-person proposal, which we take to be a contemporary representative of the Kantian view. According to this view, love does not have a necessary role neither in moral motivation, nor in moral obligation; just a complementary one. Yet this proposal faces three difficulties: a psychological problem, a practical problem, and a theoretical problem. In contrast, we argue that both moral motivation, and moral obligations emerge from our interpersonal relations with particular others. We further argue that obligations in the context of friendship are moral because they come with a feeling of obligation and have been internalized. Thus, the three problems raised to the Kantian position are clarified, and the role of love is emphasized in both our moral motivation, and our moral obligations towards friends.

Author's Profile

Carme Isern-Mas
Universitat de les Illes Balears


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