Is it Better to Love Better Things?

In Tony Milligan, Christian Maurer & Kamila Pacovsk√° (eds.), Love and Its Objects (2015)
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It seems better to love virtue than vice, pleasure than pain, good than evil. Perhaps it's also better to love virtuous people than vicious people. But at the same time, it's repugnant to suggest that a mother should love her smarter, more athletic, better looking son than his dim, clumsy, ordinary brother. My task is to help sort out the conflicting intuitions about what we should love. In particular, I want to address a problem for the no-reasons view, the theory that love cannot be rationally justified. Since it seems better to love good people rather than evil villains, it appears that there are indeed reasons for (or, at least, against) love. Is it coherent to talk this way and deny that love can be justified? I think so and will explain how.

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Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College


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