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What defines the word "love"? Show more Show less

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Love is a verb Show more Show less

Like any other verb, love is a relational action, something we engage in and act upon.
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Love is a concrete action

Love is demonstrated best through action, not just words.
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Context

The Argument

Love is a verb. To love someone is to long and display immense affection for another human being. Like swimming, this manifests itself in different actions, but all are encompassed under the verb 'to love'. The key is that it is an action.[1] This view of love also makes love quantifiable. If doing X means someone is in love, and he or she does these actions more with person A than with person B, then it is fair to assume that they love person A more than person B.[2] For someone to just say that they love another person is not enough. It must be reflected in their actions. For instance, a woman who is being domestically abused may claim that her partner loves her, but they have demonstrated with their horrific actions that this is not true.

Counter arguments

Love cannot be reduced to behaviour. Our definition of love must include more. If love was simply the way we behave towards other people, then actors would be in love with their co-actors or actresses when playing the part of an on-screen couple. They are behaving as though they are in love, therefore, by this narrow definition, they are in love. Love must be more than simply acting or behaving in a certain way. It must include feeling and desire. The action without the presence of the feeling is not love, it is acting.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Love is a verb. [P2] Verbs are action words. [P3] Therfore, love is an action, much like swimming.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Love is also an abstract noun. [Rejecting P3] Love cannot be reduced to actions. It has a corresponding feeling which is necessary to be in love. Without the feeling, you are acting as though you are in love, without being in love.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1577531/jewish/What-Is-Love.htm
  2. https://www.iep.utm.edu/love/

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Feb 2020 at 08:58 UTC