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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Loving another person is often considered to be harmful to the lover’s autonomy. This chapter presents a different view. It defends an account of love as a special kind of desire for “deep conversation” with the beloved. On this basis, it is argued that love is not only not harmful but in fact beneficial to the lover’s autonomy. Love also makes lovers vulnerable in a number of ways on the conception put forward here. This is in part because the beloved is irreplaceable to the lover. In certain contexts, these vulnerabilities can give rise to behavior that harms autonomy. But ultimately, this kind of behavior is inessential to love. By contrast, the aspects of love that promote the lover’s autonomy are essential to what love is.

Keywords: love, autonomy, desire, irreplaceability, vulnerability, Plato, Kant

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