Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Love (Alterity, Relationship)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1365

Love constitutes a central issue in every human life. Furthermore, persons can only understand their own self through the perception of others, through “otherness.” The overwhelming psychological evidence points to the role of the mother as a condition to the child’s awakening to self-awareness, an experience of being loved which is condition to further extend the ability to love others. The received love is a precondition to love-giving. Such a dynamic reveals a close link between love, relationship, and otherness.

Otherness or alterity refers to the reality of other person, to the difference he/she makes, and his/her insurmountable diversity. The access to the other calls for a special kind of relationship, of respect and communication, different from the relation with other things and beings.

A philosophical distinction reveals three different ways to understand love: distant love, instant love, and constant love. It corresponds to a treatment of the other as an object, as a person,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Buber, M. (1962). Ich und Du, Werke I. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider.Google Scholar
  2. Entralgo, P. L. (1988). Teoría y Realidad del Otro. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.Google Scholar
  3. Kernberg, O. F. (1995). Love relations: Normality and pathology. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Lévinas, E. (1999). Alterity and transcendence. London: Athlone.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Antonianum UniversityRomeItaly