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Love as Union: A Defense of the Union Theory of Love
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II defend the thesis that the union theory of love is the best theory of what intimate love consists in. To do this, I motivate the idea that intimate love has something to do with being moved by the beloved’s desires, emotions, beliefs, and/or actions. Then I survey what union theorists have said. Objections to union theory are examined, and said objections help in knowing how not to construct a union theory. Other theories of love are examined; none of them provide an adequate account of intimate love. Then I present my own union theory. Roughly, stated only in terms of desires, it is as follows. There are several things about Bob which, if Martha were to know of them, she would perceive as factoring into his own lived experience (desires, emotions, beliefs, actions). Let’s consider his desires. Some of these desires, perhaps all of them, Martha wouldn’t think of as being destructive to who Bob is if he were to get what he wants. Suppose that, were Martha to perceive at least one of these non-destructive desires, she would desire that he be fulfilled in said desire. Martha wants to want Bob’s fulfillment in said desire. She stands behind this aspect of herself. She in no way reasons or processes her way from anything outside of Bob’s non-destructive desires to her own desire that Bob be fulfilled in his desire. These sorts of things obtain if and only if Martha loves Bob. This theory provides a way of understanding how it is that we are moved by the beloved’s desires. I also examine ways in which it can be applied to emotions, beliefs, and actions. After presenting and defending my theory, I also comment on how love understood as union is connected to motivation as well as non-intimate versions of love.
Forcey, John Graham (2017). Love as Union: A Defense of the Union Theory of Love. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from