© 2011 John Shand
The primary focus here is romantic love, but it may be applied to other cases of love such as those within a family. The first issue is whether love is a non-rational occurrence leading to a state of affairs to which the normative constrains of reason do not apply. If one assumes that reasons are relevant to determining love, then the second issue is the manner in which love is and should be reasonable and governed by the indications of reason. It is contended that our conception of love is inherently contradictory. Depending on circumstances, we want love to be both a non-rational occurrence beyond reason and something normative such that the indications of reasons are relevant to determining and assessing it. We alternate between the two treatments of love and in so doing love can function in our lives. The incoherence is accommodated by each treatment or view of love being one of as if. This allows us to live with love in a manner whereby we do not have to definitively commit to either alternative, so we have a dipolar as if concept of love. Sometimes we view love as if reasons were beside the point and at others we view love as if it were rightly subject to the indications of reason.
Shand, John (2011) "Love As If," Essays in Philosophy: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 2.