Review Of "The Rationality Of Love" By H. Naar

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It is said that “love is blind." This may be true of infatuation, but Naar (Univ. of Duisburg-Essen, German) argues carefully and convincingly that there are norms of justification and rationality for love and, indeed, for loving a specific individual. The author devotes a significant portion of the book to criticizing alternative views ranging from complete skepticism to “no reasons” (Harry Frankfurt) that are close but not identical to his—e.g., though it is true that one has reason to love someone with “attractive qualities,” it is not clear why one should not love everyone with those qualities. By qualifying and amending various "near misses," Naar defends the claim that there are reasons for love and that one can be guided by them. The author’s review of contemporary accounts of love is impressive, and he provides many sources to explore. One caveat: Naar claims that love is a state. When one is sexually aroused, one is in a state of excitement. But one can truly be said to love one’s partner when the thought of one’s partner is far from one’s present attention. That observation aside, this is an exemplary and thorough examination of the rationality of love. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.


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