The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 341–354 | Cite as

The Burdens of Love

  • Amelie Rorty


While we primarily love individual persons, we also love our work, our homes, our activities and causes. To love is to be engaged in an active concern for the objective well-being—the thriving—of whom and what we love. True love mandates discovering in what that well-being consists and to be engaged in the details of promoting it. Since our loves are diverse, we are often conflicted about the priorities among the obligations they bring. Loving requires constant contextual improvisatory adjustment of priorities among our commitments. Besides delighting in—and being enhanced by—the presence and existence of another person (a place, an institution, profession), love requires extended reflection and work.


Ambivolence Choice Commitment Conflicts Love Priorities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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