Sunday Sermon: LOVE


There is an interesting discussion evolving in the comments thread under the “Ten Tips…” post. 

Also a review of “UNDERSTANDING LOVE” here.

Love is a problem. But ‘love‘ is really a problem. It has always been a problem in English! The problem? The word is riddled with ambiguity. We use the one word in English in many different senses. A good review is to be found here.

In ordinary conversations, we often say things like the following:

1. I love chocolate (or skiing). [or mashed potatoes]
2. I love doing philosophy (or being a father).
3. I love my dog (or cat).
4. I love my wife (or mother or child or friend).

However, what is meant by ‘love’ differs from case to case. (1) may be understood as meaning merely that I like this thing or activity very much. In (2) the implication is typically that I find engaging in a certain activity or being a certain kind of person to be a part of my identity and so what makes my life worth living; I might just as well say that I value these. By contrast, (3) and (4) seem to indicate a mode of concern that cannot be neatly assimilated to anything else. Thus, we might understand the sort of love at issue in (4) to be, roughly, a matter of caring about another person as the person she is, for her own sake. (Accordingly, (3) may be understood as a kind of deficient mode of the sort of love we typically reserve for persons.) Philosophical accounts of love have focused primarily on the sort of personal love at issue in (4); such personal love will be the focus here.
And more in an excellent overview here.


3 thoughts on “Sunday Sermon: LOVE

  1. It does seem that we English speakers could use some more words to help us distinguish our many uses! Love the gods, love food, love my dog, love to read this blog, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If someone says they love food or love their dog – we get what kind of love they mean. It’s a problem because we have to say what it is we love in order to know. But to love someone is to pull us into the problems of a relationship with another person. However if I compare that to not loving, say my child for example, that would create bigger problems. What happens to a child who has never been loved?


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