Research Overview

The central hypothesis of our project is two-fold: (1) Love and caring are emotional phenomena that play central and deep roles in human thought and action, but inadequate, reductive understandings of the nature of love and caring—understandings imposed by a model according to which what it is for a mind to function rationally can be understood entirely in terms of the roles played by the mental states of belief and desire—have blocked philosophers from recognizing these roles. (2) In developing more robust accounts both of the nature of love and caring and of their roles in thought and action, philosophers can learn from psychologists, neuroscientists, medical practitioners and legal theorists working on these and closely related topics, and researchers in these fields can learn from the conceptual work on love and caring done by philosophers. Our central question, then, is: how can a genuinely interdisciplinary investigation reshape our understanding both of the nature of love and caring and of the central and deep roles they play in human thought and action, and do so in such a way that the former is adequate to the latter?

Background Theory and Context

Why an Interdisciplinary Investigation?
Why Love and Human Agency?