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Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the reason for being, the subject of countless books, artwork, films, and works of theatre. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a deep emotional connection, the manifestation of physical and chemical reactions, the act of being entirely devoted to another individual, or nothing at all?


Arguments supporting this position



Few actions we do purely occur for their own sake. For example, a rich person might donate money to charity. They do so not for the sake of it but because it might make them feel good, boost their public image or allow others to see them in a positive light.

The Argument

Love is an action that takes place for its own sake. We value another person’s feelings, concerns, desires and interests purely because we love them. We take genuine delight in their achievements, even when they have no bearing on us.

Counter arguments

How do we distinguish this from admiration or respect? For example, if my favourite sports star wins a lucrative new contract, I may feel pleasure for them purely for their sake. This is not the same as love. I am not in love with that person, I merely admire and respect them.[1]


[P1] Love is valuing another person for its own sake. [P2] It is one of the only actions that we do for its own sake and without the motive of personal benefit.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] We also ascribe value for value's sake when we admire and respect someone. It is not exclusive to love.




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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 15:41 UTC