Romantic love presents some of life's most challenging questions. Can we choose who to love? Is romantic love rational? Can we love more than one person at a time? And can we make ourselves fall out of love? Berit Brogaard here attempts to get to the bottom of love's many contradictions. This short book, informed by both historical and cutting edge philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, combines a new theory of romantic love with entertaining anecdotes from real life and accessible explanations of the neuroscience underlying our wildest passions.
Against the grain, Brogaard argues that love is an emotion; that it can be, at turns, both rational and irrational; and that it can be manifested in degrees. We can love one person more than another and we can love a person a little or a lot or not at all. And love isn't even always something we consciously feel. However, love - like other emotions, both conscious and not - is subject to rational control, and falling in or out of it can be a deliberate choice. This engaging and innovative look at a universal topic, featuring original line drawings by illustrator Gareth Southwell, illuminates the processes behind heartbreak, obsession, jealousy, attachment, and more.
"Brogaard's book is written to be accessible to general readers without sacrificing philosophical content. It offers more than enough interesting current theoretical work to merit serious attention by professional readers. Whimsical line drawings by illustrator Gareth Southwell add to the book's appeal. Essential." --Choice
"...Berit Brogaard's On Romantic Love is an achievement... Brogaard illustrates her arguments with acute philosophical intelligence, stylistic verve, and concrete human examples... She allows readers to engage in a very personal way with profound, contentious philosophical positions. She also navigates easily through the tempestuous technical waters of contemporary neurological research on love, which is where we might expect a flood of future insights." --The Chronicle of Higher Education
"...it is a helpful manual to be used in case of being harmed in love..." --Metapsychology Online Reviews
"[A] good read, pacy and informative with a nice balance of narratives, debate overviews and claim staking." --The Philosophers' Magazine
About the Author:
Berit Brogaard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. Her book Transient Truths was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. In her academic research she specializes in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and the cognitive sciences.