In Natasha McKeever, Joe Saunders & Andre Grahlé (eds.), Love: Past, Present and Future. Routledge (2022)
Most philosophers would agree that loving one’s romantic partner (i.e., being in love) is, in principle, a good thing. That is, romantic love can be valuable. It seems plausible that most would then think that the process leading to being in love—i.e. falling in love—can be valuable too. Surprisingly, that is not the case: among philosophers, falling in love has a bad reputation. Whereas philosophy of love has started to depart from traditional (and often unwarranted or false) tropes surrounding romantic life, this tendency has not yet reached the analysis of falling in love. The phenomenon continues to be looked at mostly through a compendium of generalisations taken as metaphysical truths—the view of falling in love being akin to “losing one’s mind” or “not being able to think about anything else”.
Here, I analyse some of these generalisations to show that although they may reflect some experiences of what falling in love feels like, they wrongly reduce falling in love to two related, but distinct, phenomena: limerence and infatuation. My aim is to refine the current terminology to lay the foundations for a neutral view of falling in love.