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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What kind of mental phenomenon is romantic love? Many philosophers, psychologists, and ordinary folk treat it as an emotion. This chapter argues the category of emotion is inadequate to account for romantic love. It examines major emotion theories in philosophy and psychology and shows that they fail to illustrate that romantic love is an emotion. It considers the categories of basic emotions and emotion complexes, and demonstrates they too come short in accounting for romantic love. It assesses the roles of culture and evolution in shaping the romantic love phenomenon and evaluates the ways in which the norms of rationality that are applied to standard emotions fail to apply to love. It considers the category of sentiments and argue that despite coming close, it does not adequately capture the nature of romantic love. Finally, the chapter makes a case for love being best characterized as a syndrome.

Keywords: romantic, love, emotion, sentiment, syndrome, category, philosphy, psychology

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