Love often seems uncontrollable and irrational, but we just as frequently appear to have reasons for loving the people we do. In Love’s Vision, Troy Jollimore offers a new way of understanding love that accommodates both of these facts, arguing that love is guided by reason even as it resists and sometimes eludes rationality. At the same time, he reconsiders love’s moral status, acknowledging its moral dangers while arguing that it is, at heart, a moral phenomenon — an emotion that demands empathy and calls us away from excessive self-concern. Love is revealed as neither wholly moral nor deeply immoral, neither purely rational nor profoundly irrational. Rather, as Diotima says in Plato’s Symposium, love is “something in between.”
Jollimore makes his case by proposing a “vision” view of love, according to which loving is a way of seeing that involves bestowing charitable attention on a loved one. This view recognizes the truth in the cliché “love is blind,” but holds that love’s blindness does not undermine the idea that love is guided by reason. Reasons play an important role in love even if they rest on facts that are not themselves rationally justifiable.
Filled with illuminating examples from literature, Love’s Vision is an original examination of a subject of vital philosophical and human concern.