The Break-Up Check: Exploring Romantic Love through Relationship Terminations

Philosophia 46 (3):689-703 (2018)
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Abstract
People who experience love often experience break-ups as well. However, philosophers of love have paid little attention to the phenomenon. Here, I address that gap by looking at the grieving process which follows unchosen relationship terminations. I ask which one is the loss that, if it were to be recovered, would stop grief or make it unwarranted. Is it the beloved, the reciprocation of love, the relationship, or all of it? By answering this question I not only provide with an insight on the nature of break-ups, but also make a specific claim about the nature of love. I argue that the object that is universally lost in all break-ups is a person with certain intrinsic qualities, who is in a relationship characterised by certain shared activities and recognized as romantic. That means that, at least in romantic terminations, the beloved and the relationship are not independent objects of grief. So, plausibly, they may not independent objects of value in love. Hence, those who state otherwise should face up to this objection coming from the study of break-ups.
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Archival date: 2019-07-25
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