Departmental Honors Project Title

Entangled: Romantic Love and Philosophy

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Honors Project


College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Stephen Kellert


In order to do philosophy, one must understand what it is. Often one has to develop this understanding on their own, since the philosophical canon has such a range of attitudes, styles, and objects. In this paper, philosophy is a dialogue, a conversation spanning space and time, as well as the inside of one's own head. Philosophy is not something that can provide an absolute truth about reality; rather, philosophy is a means of describing how the philosopher thinks reality ought to be.

To exemplify this understanding of philosophy, this paper is written as fiction. It follows two people as they try to determine what romantic love is, and why it was a neglected or minimized philosophical object for centuries. As the characters converse, they develop the concept of philosophy described above, discuss the place of women, passion, and reason in philosophy, and determine – to the extent they are able – that romantic love is something people do, rather than a feeling or state of being, and is based on an unjustifiable attraction to another person and Aristotle's concept of friendship, specifically philia.

The idea of romantic love being a practice, rather than an emotion or a state of being, seems to be uncommon in philosophical work on the topic. It seems just as rare, especially historically, to think of romantic love as being between equals, who mutually care for each other and commit equally to the relationship. This paper aims to point out the holes I have found in my reading on romantic love in philosophy and to provide new perspectives on romantic love in the hopes of prompting further and broader discussion on the topic.








Departmental Honors Project

Included in

Philosophy Commons