How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me? Toward an Epistemology of Love

Philosophical Forum (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper attempts to fill an epistemological gap in our theorizing about love with a sketch of an epistemology of love that unfolds by addressing Whitney Houston’s famous epistemological questions pertaining to how we can know whether another loves us. After arguing for three possible sources of the knowledge of love, it offers initial answers to how the knowledge of the presence or absence of another’s love can be acquired from the relevant possible sources previously established. These initial answers, though, are unsatisfying because they invite more difficult questions that are then addressed, such as those pertaining to the kinds of things that constitute love’s expressions along with how to detect these expressions given the possibility of false positives. Addressing these questions ultimately leads to a sharpened, Aristotle-inspired account of how to acquire the knowledge of the presence or absence of another’s love by inferring it, respectively, from the successful or failed detection of love’s expressions.

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Ryan Stringer
Lincoln Land Community College

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