The love of art, love of country, love of family, love of another—the love that is experienced in more than one way. Love is defined as a strong affection based on admiration for someone or something occasioned by the superior qualities or the achievements of that person or thing. However, love has been very ambiguously described in various forms and in different contexts. The love of love is in the subjectivity, however, love is one of the most important experiences in life.
Love can be expressed through multiple ways like love for objects (for example love for music or love for art), love for animals (love for pet or love for nature), love between individuals (like love between friends, love between family members etc. ), and many more. There are many quotes about love throughout literature, which describe how different people experience this feeling differently. But what exactly is the essence of love? What makes us fall in love with someone or something?
What is it that makes us continue to be in love with that person over time? We will try to find some answers to these questions through philosophical inquiry. Kant in his book “Critique of Pure Reason” argues that love is made possible through presentation and representation. We love when we love something which gives us happiness when we see it or think about it. What drives our love for someone else is the person’s perfections- their beauty, kindness, generosity etc. , qualities represented in the idea of them (the sublime).
He says: “We love anyone only because we somehow represent them as worthy of love…our affection arises not merely from the value attached to the person by means of some end or advantage but also from a certain sublimity which does not permit reason to dissolve this nexus” (A 738/B766). So love comes from love’s object or love’s idea and love for love’s sake is the love of the person as a representation of perfection, which Kant calls ‘the sublime’ and it is pure and not heteronomous (meaning love for another person because we don’t want to disappoint them).
He also says: “Love does not purport to do anything at all;…it only desires to be itself, i. e. , through its own determinant as such without any condition as such” (A 744/B772). However, we can say that his theory of love has strong metaphysical aspects that do not take into consideration the other important factors like what makes us fall in love with this particular person? Is it their physical appearance, their social status, their personality? Berkeley takes love to be a product of loveable objects.
He says that love comes into being when we see the qualities in love’s object and this creates a link between love’s subject and love’s object. We love an object which produces pleasure when we love it or think about it. So love is not pure but has strong physical aspects attached to it . However, Kant puts forward his view on this theory by saying: “He who loves does so because he finds something lovable… the lover would never cease from loving if only he could find something absolutely lovable” (R 8:34).
Love has its source in reason and not in the sense of experience because there is no love in loveable objects that give pleasure. Moreover love is not merely a loveable object with pleasurable qualities attached to it but love arises from the idea of perfection which gives us happiness when looking at it or thinking about it (A 738/B766). This proves Kant’s metaphysical theory on love true and love does not come into being because we think an object is loveable but love starts when we see the idea of perfection in an object.
Berkeley’s theory of love is different than Hume’s, who views love as something very physical and sensory rather than rational. He says: “…Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire” (E 255). Our love for love’s object also decreases when we are apart from it, although he does say love is not always about physical presence but love sometimes is associated with reason too. And this may be understood as why love grows stronger over time if there are reasons to love someone or something (rather than merely because of their presence).
Hume says love makes us feel pleasure and pain through our senses, rather than the mere understanding of an idea like Kant believes (A 739/B767). He explains that love has different kinds-love between friends, family members etc. -and these types differ in degree of liking which is based on sensory experiences. So Hume’s metaphysical theory on love also proves correct in some cases where people fall in love because of physical pleasure they receive from love’s object, but love can also come through reason, which he fails to recognize.
Hume was the first major thinker who introduced love as a psychological subject of inquiry-before his love was always dealt with metaphysically by philosophers. He says love is not a loveable object but love itself and “liking” comes before love (E 255). For Hume love does not come into being because we see perfection in an object rather it arises from sensory experiences like warmth and tenderness like Kant believes it comes from reason (A 738/B766). This shows Hume has some insight into Kant’s theory on love but offers his own explanation which is different.
Love is a complex multi-faceted topic. In essence, love can be defined as a positive feeling of affection, attachment, and personal care towards someone or something. It may have an object, but not always. It has been said that love is blind – love does not take into account differences between people, love does not discriminate on the basis of appearance, wealth, etc… However, if love is blind it would mean that love cannot exist without our eyesight. Love requires two physical beings for its manifestation – how can love be blind?
This metaphor simply means that love superseded logic and rationality – it renders them useless when dealing with questions of love or an object/ person loved. One should not critically examine the reasons behind one’s feelings of love as love is irrational and must be treated as such. Love is a very powerful word – love can give happiness, love can unite two people very closely… But love also divides – love makes enemies. It’s difficult to describe the essence of love as its qualities are so different from each other. However, love possesses some common properties: affection, attachment, and personal care.
Love always has an object which it relates towards with positive feelings (unlike hate). All forms of love possess these features no matter how big or small they are – they all share common factors. Despite appearing simple on the surface love actually has deep roots in various traditions and cultures (primarily religious ones). The major religions such as Christianity, Islam, etc.. Each has their own love-based love stories and canons. However in essence love cleanses the soul of a person, love is a form of redemption from sin which in turn leads to salvation.
Love has been one of the major themes in philosophical thought, especially love between two beings (eros). Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates pondered love deeply… Their conclusions were that love was divine and stemmed from an ideal state where all humans loved each other selflessly. Being bound to love we seek our own good. Love stands out among other emotions because it’s unique – no matter how strong or weak it is we automatically wish to share happiness with another by means of this feeling.
Authors such as Agatha Christie explore love through their characters and settings: exploring love stronger love that love which is mutual, love involving love for another or love towards something. Love can be doomed to fail in some cases but it keeps the story going. It may seem like love is just too complicated of a topic to discuss… However, love brings joy in our lives and unites people together in societies. Love also promotes life and living – even when humanity looked at love differently love was still considered one of the most important factors of human existence.