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Love

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Norsemaiden, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    I think this is a good point... perhaps it is simply impossible to determine the validity of the argument either way - but perhaps it does not effectively matter, discussion can be moved to a level beyond this, for even if we are all at base entirely selfish entities, our actions can be interpreted in shades of grey depending on how we interact with others.
     
  2. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    Well, part of what makes this whole debate difficult is that we can't seem to agree on the significance of any real life data. That's because we're all interpreting the cases in different ways. As far as I'm concerned it comes down to this: Is it inconsistent to claim that X desires to do A (or more generally 'X has some reason as part of his own motivational set that causes him to do A') and to claim that X did not do A for his/her own sake? I don't think the two claims are inconsistent. I'd even go so far as to maintain that X can do A by his/her own volition without desiring to do A (but that's a different debate).
     
  3. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    I guess in that sense it would seem to come down to short term desire / instinctual behaviour, and longer term 'good'... if we were to define 'love' as having some sense of including 'another' in ones own notion of 'good', perhaps some reconciliation between positions could be made?
     
  4. Έρεβος

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    I doubt extremely highly that any regular posters here, or at least any of the regulars in the philosophy section, are true sociopaths.
     
  5. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    Ad hominem cop-out FTL. [​IMG]
     
  6. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    I didn't mean particularly the 'moral' part, just that what it seemed like you were talking about was something oft applied thus. In other words, I'm not a solopcist; I don't deny some external reality or existence of other consciousness other than my own, something people are typically accused [by our sadly Kantian culture] of doing in order to reach differing moralities.

    then, I can assure the participants, I'm open to the possibility for love. The problem, I see, is that, while I may think 'here's God's world of purpose and meaning, and it would be well for me to die in playing part in a greater play than my own life' I would still be choosing to do so not because I want the world independent of me to be flourishing etc. etc. but because the notion of a flourishing world makes me feel good, and to live without such contribution would, in belief such a contribution is possible to make, make me feel worthless, wasteful, etc., and to ignore my own motive and focus on the outward behavior fulfilling it is not to prove anything in the way of objective value, it's just a misunderstanding of myself.
     
  7. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    certainly... but that draws back to my initial notion (my second post, I think) that there is no distinction between 'loving' and valuing'. Certainly the notion of 'ecology' (the good of the planet/other ecosystems?) and my personal good can be reconciled by the invisible hand which makes it in my interest to do what is in it's interest (look at ecology in microcosm---immature 18 year olds who move out of their parents home for the first time, into some slum and make a pig sty of the place... until they get tired of living in their own filth and getting sick, and see it as in their interests to do what is also good for the roommates and the landlord, namely being tidy or 'clean' at least.). Certainly if I see friends as in my personal good I'll be kind to my friends since I know that is in their personal good and thus is a good way to act in my personal good regarding that desire... but, as I see it, to call that transaction 'love' is the stretch that's being challenged, we're beyond a zero sum selfishness to a mutually beneficial selfishness, but people, while would probably grant 'it's not that you love your body, you just value your health and don't want to get sick' want to, when interpersonal rather than personal, say 'you love your friends, that's why you're good to them, it's not that you just value their friendship, such that when you no longer value the friendship they embody you'll no longer behave as though loving them objectively---pursuing their good because you value it as a thing itself, even if you cannot so much as expect or hope to feel good about yourself for doing so'.

    To me, such an arbitrary love is insulting to the very notion of being worthy of love.
     
  8. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    Yea, while it's always a possibility, just as 'perhaps Wilma is the devil' is, I certainly, though open to it, have no expectation of that being seen to be the case.

    'ordinary' is presupposing. Again, maybe Wilma's the devil, but granting this possibility , I wouldn't use such loaded language as to concede 'there are ordinary situations where women are actually the devil in disguise'---it could be entirely atypical or null, I don't know, but it's a hypothesis, and we need to first consider it along with everything else, however unlikely one's own paradigm expects it to be, that's just fair skepticism.


    I strongly disagree there. Currently, I would say neither of us have proven anything, and thus we both equally have the burden of proof.
    It would be rather like, was the paradigm simply 'god makes everything happen', if someone comes along and disagrees, that person (we can, outside of such a paradigm see) has merely observed there is no more evidence for that than 'the devil makes everything happen', and we can see plainly that it would not be fit for the villagers to say 'everyone knows god makes it happen, the burden is on you to show otherwise' as if it's mere shotgun-rights---'we asserted a hypothesis first'---applied here.

    Minor Aristotlean correction---that is not ultimately perceived as in their own self-interest, (or, irrelevant to the point at hand, otherwise out of their control/consciousness (like a habit of bad posture).

    I understand that, and know I'm not well enough addressing your concern here, but all I can say for now is that what makes for a good scientific hypothesis isn't necessily a good determinant of philosophical truisms. But I'm confident we can manoevre some other way to a dialogue than such a path as that.

    That seems to me a shallow assessment of self-interest.
    Right now I forgo the desire to see clearly in pursuing my desire to finish this post instead of putting in my contact lenses.
    Perhaps necessary to state, I don't by any stretch of the imagination consider 'survival' or 'flourishing' to be inextricable parts of self-interest.
    (having the choice, I might rather see myself die rather than my life's work die (such as a two-decade investment in a human legacy), though no doubt I'd still have a desire to live could I have both. It would be merely my assessment at the time (however vehemently in accord with my values, or biased by haste, fear, etc.) to prefer to die satisfied with myself than live ashamed and starting over from scratch having thus wasted decades of my life. This is rather like choosing to eat chocolate in hopes of feeling good now, despite how destructive it may be, rather than suffer hunger and desire and frustration time and again working toward a future where I hope to feel good. A life's work, especially in the form of one's child, one would be so pained to lose, to accept what a waste all those years focused on such work were, and to struggle to rebuild anything of worth from scratch, that they might rather be satisfied with what they'd done, happy with their life, so happy that their life doesn't even require a whole lot more living to achieve what that life was lived in pursuit of, that, though 'wanting' to live longer, just as we all do, it would actually be acceptable to face death satisfied with one's life rather than face life unsatisfied with it and oneself. To inject ideas about one's attachment to the valued thing one puts oneself at stake to preserve seems besides the point to me---there are plenty of objective objects in the world, but we only "love" some of them... how do we distinguish which to love?---why do we not die for communism instead of capitalism, for a pedophile instead of a child, for our wife rather than our neighbours wife... is it really that we thing one has any more objective value than any other, or just that we are personally gratified by pursuing the preservation of certain objective things, and thus determines which we indeed do seek the preservation of?

    Again, I merely point out there are no shotgun rights in philosophy; that you interprete a U.F.O. before anyone else does not give you a privileged position over my interpretation, which, since it is subsequent, you call 'my reinterpretation'.

    Yes, I did mean to apologise for that. Typically, enough digging through words and such things can be resolved though.

    that's the problem I'm having with being scientific about philosophy, I simply can't tell you what the world would look like if it didn't look like this.
    Of course you can give me an example of something which isn't done purely for the sake of the other---most rapists don't rape as a selfless act for the objective good of the victim---but to say 'I there have a falsifiable theory' still doesn't progress the theory anywhere further than mine.... if you're right, all I can do is falsify every single example you bring forward... and you call that the weakness of my theory. It's rather like ghosts... you can refute every 'case' of a ghost encounter, but you can never destroy the theory of such a phenomenon, and the question the skeptic wants to ask is 'how many fuckin examples do I have to prove wrong for you to see a pattern here?'---'do you really think the next case is more likely to have some unique explanation, or just fit the pattern like all the rest?'
    Again, I feel your pain here... it is quite a nuisance, but surely there is some other means of negotiating the issue than by the standards of observation (especially where one would think introspection and cooperative first-person reports are available for inclusion and critique).

    It appears as if a law of behavior... can we say all instincts or all sight or all respiration or all -any trait of life- is really limited to living things, just because it appears all such appearances always are of that nature? It seems like here we're getting at a fundamental philosophy of science question...

    perhaps rocks can see, you're right, I can't justify my claim 'rocks cannot see because only things which live and have eyes can see' merely because in my experience the only things that could see were living things with eyes, but I'm not sure how profound a flaw this is.

    it's available for your own introspection, and you're welcome to explain the psychological process of 'y for y's sake' so that we have an alternative explanation to discuss, but so far it's little more than a paradigm 'it's possible' with no explanation as to how it might work, which is undeniably essential.
     
  9. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    I had a dream that involved some cruel aliens from outerspace who notified a family that they would be taking their young son, aged around seven, away to do "experiments" on him. The parents knew that these "experiments" involved extreme prolonged sadism and that their son would suffer greatly before being killed. Having considered all their options they decided that rather than let the aliens take their son, they would kill him instead. And then they would commit suicide - to avoid being punished.
    They had the option to let the aliens just take their son, and themselves be left unharmed - but because they loved their son more than they loved themselves, they refused to do this.

    Here is a scenario in which someone was loved by others such that they would die to help the other person, with no benefit to themselves.

    Is this an example that proves there need not be any self-interest in sacrificing oneself for a loved one?

    There must be similar examples that have really occured.
     
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  10. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    I'm sleepy and I have a busy day tomorrow, so this will have to just remain horribly written.

    I had a dream, that a man was asked to clap his hands twice if he wanted a million dollars, so he pulled out a gun and shot himself... an example of something that no one would ever do doesn't really help us get anywhere.

    Constructing a less absurd parallel of your scenario...
    parents whose young one has cancer decide to kill him rather than force him to endure all the procedures they have to go through. That's illegal, of course, so they decide to kill themselves afterwards...

    This is a situation that actually occurs (as opposed to cruel extraterrestrials), and what do people actually do?

    More likely than not (think of the euthanasia convictions) they would 'help end the suffering' of the sick person then 'live, hoping not to be punished too harshly for their welcomed murderous act of compassion', not 'kill themselves to evade the law'. It should be clear that they didn't want to feel bad and watch someone they loved suffering, and in the same way one commits suicide, since the person wanted an end to their suffering, thus sought to end the cause of their pain... they don't, having achieved that, tend to decide 'I may as well kill myself now,'

    sadly, that is only 'more likely than not' for the suicide half... more likely than not it never even gets that far...
    normally children are simply forced to endure all the treatments in agony (scores of them according to a frequent ad on tv), and are disgustingly called 'brave' by the media, though they have not even a mind to scream KILL ME at such an age, just whimpering like a dog throughout the months... and while they want an end to their pain, the parent doesn't give them what they want... the parent pursues their own want which is not coinciding with the child's want... the parent would feel worse for 'losing' their child, for 'killing' their child, for 'breaking the law', and so forth, and so they think 'well fuck what you want, fickle that your wants are, I'm gunna get what I want, you can suffer, and hell you might just thank me for it one day anyway.'

    Where is this beautiful murder-suicide done in objective love?


    I couldn't disagree more with "with no benefit to themselves"

    back to your alien kidnappers example...

    scenario one: they have to live the rest of their life knowing they've thrown away their family rather than fighting for it, and that their child is now suffering endlessly somewhere...

    scenario two: the parents have the peace of mind of knowing no child of theirs had to suffer horribly because of their actions.

    scenario two sounds to me like an improvement (depending of course on one's personal values), sufficient to say there is very much a personal benefit to choosing scenario two (but, of course, whether or not those are your values determines which scenario will be favored by you).
     
  11. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    I think NM was intending that the aliens would be taking punitive action on the mother and father...? It made more sense that way anyway. Though it doesn't really address your argument any better, the parents actions can still be clearly said to be motivated of their own desire.


    Yes, that would seem a little odd, given that the notion of love is always espoused as something that adds positively to ones life. I think when people speak of 'love' it bears a strong sense of 'value attached to whole entity' as opposed to 'value' which I think gives more a sense of 'value derived from specific attributes / actions of entity'. It doesn't seem an unreasonable use of the term, to me - though specifically how distinct the two are I'm not sure.

    I had a long term partner leave me, on amicable terms, pretty recently. Without getting too detailed, I feel a strong sense of care for her future happiness, at the same time as having a strong sense that what happens to her is relatively isolated from me. To all perceptions available to me, the well being of my closest friends will have a more direct impact on my life in the future, yet I care about her much more significantly. Love seems as good a term for it as any? :lol:
     
  12. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    I know that was a really crap example of a scenario I gave, but I was interested to hear the response - and Blowtus was right, that the aliens were going to take punative action on the mother and father.

    Probably any truly selfless love is insane because it would be as senseless as it would be selfless. Such as running into the path of a lorry to save a squirrel.

    The kind of selfless love that appears noble (yet not insane) is always related in some way to the selfish gene and thus is not so selfless after all. It is only practiced by those with a gene for altruism. We have been through all that before on another thread.
     
  13. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    Yea exactly, I'm not so sure people don't attach value to the entity itself for any reason other than that such entity is expected to have certain attributes. The problematic 'human behavior' stuff in this debate comes in once the attachment is made and soon those attributes favored go away (like a 'lover' that becomes 'distant' or 'abusive' or whatever), and, like being addicted to cigarettes or having low self-esteem, there is some perceived avoidance of pain involved in preserving this situation which is undoubtedly without the same positive value it used to have, and in such ambiguity it's easy to slip in romantic ideas like 'she stays with him because she loves him', and especially when it's involving parental norms in our society, but for my part I think it can be unravelled and no "...y for y's sake" will be found ( [​IMG] I'm really glad Cythraul posted that logic form near the beginning for us, it definitely comes in handy)

    yea, I'm not sure disputing the word 'love' itself is the best avenue for my thoughts denying any non-selfish emotion called 'love'.

    I've had the same thing happen, on a few occassions, even for my old pet cat who's no longer with my family (still alive though), because I have no bitter feelings regarding them, and I like thinking of a world where the things I like thrive... if I planted forests I would probably hope for their health and growth for many years to come, a good will for prosperity which, was it for a human, would be for their 'happiness' (as that's something a tree supposedly doesn't have), so it seems all very much tied up in myself (a fact which would have anyone expect I only wish for good things for those things I like, wish there was more of, etc.) (and to sidetrack further, as it may for others come to mind as it did for me, 'what about those monks who strive to have compassion for everyone?', the Dalai Lama himself notes that one strives to feel compassion because it makes oneself feel good, as much as for others whom would benefit from the expressions of compassion itself. ( [​IMG] I really do love their lack of holy pretenses).

    sweet as, like I said, enough words and things eventually get sorted out.

    yea, and I very much think this doctrine of 'parental responsibility' in our culture, which builds on any instinct of the selfish gene, contributes greatly to that.
     
  14. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    I guess I'm trying to move a little beyond your notions (while still agreeing with their substance) because I think the sense of the term as not purely 'selfish' (popular conception, not fundamental) is important in distinguishing it as useful. I see now that I want to approach it the same way I did for altruism - love as the overarching state of positive feelings toward something irrespective of any externally perceivable consequences towards yourself.
     
  15. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    I'm not sure I've ever loved something which never had any consequences towards myself. How about you?
     
  16. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    "externally perceivable consequences"
     
  17. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    can you elaborate or example the difference?
     
  18. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    @Seditious: Very good replies. Your points are well taken. I'm not sure if I grasped every single point you tried to make. One thing you seemed to touch on which is something that has been going around in my mind a bit is the problem of determining what sort of question we're asking here. Am I right to apply standards of good scientific theorizing to the question at hand, or should I be judging this question with a quite different set of criteria (namely criteria for a good philosophical theory)? Maybe this is a purely conceptual-philosophical question, in which case I'd think we'd have to make clear the conceptual relation between, e.g. self-interest, desire, motivation, and behaving with volition.

    I'm not sure I really disagree with you very drastically. In some sense of 'want', everything we do by our own volition is something we want to do. I'd put the point more generally by saying that everything X does by his own volition requires a reason internal to X's own motivational set (X must have a motivating reason for himself. Consider a case where X must do B as a means to achieving A. X finds B repugnant but A highly desirable. If X does B as a means to A, then as far as I'm concerned X doesn't want to do B, but he does have some motivating reason to do B). This wouldn't be the same as saying that everything that X does must be something that serves to promote X's own well-being. X can desire to do A purely for the sake of Y. I don't see how this is inconsistent with the doing of A serving X's self-interest in some sense of 'self-interest'.

    I think I went off on somewhat of a tangent but I hope I got some semblance of a point across.

    edit: Maybe to put my point more simply, Y's benefit can constitute a motivating reason for X to do some action, even though just by virtue of Y's benefit being a reason for X to do some action it is in some sense in service of his self-interest. Were I to, for example, give up my life for somebody, I wouldn't deny that in some sense it would be in my own interest for the world to be such that this somebody is benefited. I think there are two notions of self-interest at play here.
     
  19. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    Sounds good to me (though I must admit I'm not sure where to begin such a venture in things I no doubt take for granted).

    yea, it's rather like Aristotle's examples of 'non-voluntary' acts...
    Your rowboat is sinking, you have to throw the treasure overboard to have the best hope of keeping it afloat, the moment you're actually throwing it overboard, we want to say in some sense that you 'want' to do it---you 'intend' to do it---but only as a necessary correlate of what's primarily intended, a "means to an ends". (I feel like his example here kept in mind is really a lot of help)

    Thinking of love I think perhaps of environmentalism and commonsense---I may very well do what is best for the ecosystem because creating that good for the rest of the beings on the planet is necessary for the planet to be fit for my existence, but of course this is 'shallow ecology' not 'deep ecology'. Deep ecology---'saving the planet for it's own sake'---sounds different, but of course you know my claim, that's merely a different necessary correlate such to parallel different values (not everyone can satisfy themselves by the same actions, and the more compassionate actions don't suggest to me any less expectation of personal satisfaction (which can be considered both in enhancing pleasure/happiness or in an unburdening of guilt---relief of the negative). The 'deep ecology' people are perhaps doing something objectively 'more compassionate' (or something to that effect), but to me that result doesn't say that they're any more selfless than shallow ecologists.
    (and really, if all that is put to rest some day, we can simply get on with 'appreciating people who do help, from those who do harm' and 'appreciating more those who help more' and never minding about the underlying psychology to any extent but to have the same compassion for mankind as we have for mosquitos---'he was just doing what it was his nature to desire to do' rather than attributing 'evil' and 'malice' and such things to the person---and working harder, in light of it, to make the world such that it becomes in people's interests to behave in mutual benefit rather than zero-sum (such is what 'law enforcement' is supposed to assist, but is so corrupted by morality that it cannot even be as effective as we can conceive, so we're stuck with the old constitution lament---giving the people not the best we can devise but merely the best they'll accept').)

    It's 'purely' that I have a problem with there. Just as X can do the repugnant B because B results in A which is good for X in X's estimation; I'd expect X only to do toward an end experienced by Y what is hoped to equal A for X (which we would expect only to do so if B causes A or something like it for Y, and when Y is pleased, Y responds in some manner experienced as A to X---smiling, sex, reciprocation, perhaps 'not beating X to a bloody pulp', etc. (and probably because, in the same vain as X began the interaction, Y is looking to set up a friendly trade agreement so that X becomes another source of A in Y's life)

    I use the word 'toward' here just distinguishing the 'truism' of selfishness in question, (e.g., rather than "dying for her" I'd be "dying to protect her, for myself" (e.g., for the expectation of my own psychological pain avoided or pleasure enhanced), which makes it clear we'd otherwise be saying 'he's picking up the gold for it to go overboard'... which is a sound observation, but lacking any concept of 'motive'---we wouldn't want to answer 'why's he doing that?' with 'because he wants it to go into the sea', such that our assessment would lead us to hypothesize was his boat perfectly afloat he'd still be throwing the gold in the ocean.

    lol, naw you didn't really (and CLEARLY I know all about tangents, and wouldn't mind if you had)

    Y's benefit though, supposing Y is a pedophile, or an abusive ex-lover, or Hitler, or a hobo, X might not care about. Merely knowing 'the following behaviors are in the interest of the following people' isn't enough for us to carry out any of those behaviors; we really have to expect to feel good for ourselves having done so---having helped Mother Theresa, or the pedophile---before any motive is really formed.


    Personally, I wouldn't make that claim. Cases specific to martyrdom, suicide, extreme danger, etc. I limit the self-interests possibly being estimated as being met through the act to the merely 'personal' or 'psychological'---dying proud, dying happy*, ending suffering, etc.
    I'll be kind to someone because such is the productive response to acknowledging my role in enforcing cultural norms and feeling 'were it me I would want kindness', however, where no outcome can play into my self-interest but that outcome which is unto my very conscious/emotional state for the last moments of my life, I presume I would disregard all other options of behavior in favor of the only one which is in any self-interest. Seeing someone having nothing to gain but what indeed he is living right now, or relieving his life of right now, I entirely expect that outcome exclusively brought upon his personal subjective experience is that for which he did it.


    *e.g., feeling as though you've done one good thing with your life, or knowing your legacy will live on, or knowing you've ensured the people who you've invested so much of your life in the well-being of are going to be ok, you haven't failed them---helped them only for it to end up nil**

    **that of course supposes someone who doesn't agree with the 'meaninglessness of life', 'worthlessness of fame', etc. motif in The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius; someone who perhaps doesn't make the most logical assessment of values---letting my child die lest I lose my life, not valuable, risking my life lest my child lose it's life, extremely valuable... because what's I've done in my life isn't important, my life isn't as important as that of my child... such a concept of 'meaning' relies on a skewed perception of the value of an individual itself (as I've said in another thread, (ignore the notion of extinction for convenience so my tangent doesn't go too deep) why should I suffer so that future generations may live well, why don't they suffer so that I can live well, we are equals and equally meaningful (or -less) after all.
    The actual 'truth' of what they accomplish, since the concern is of self-interest sufficient to motivate their actions, is, of course, unimportant, all that matters is they hold it as truth and hold values on the outcomes of action/non-action, and thus maintain estimates on how it will conform to self-interest.

    EDIT: punctuation, spelling, typos, elaborations, you name it LOL. but I think I'll leave it alone now. (thank god the board is dead at this hour)
     
  20. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    Straya
    I can love something for the feelings they engender in me simply through existing, no dependence on action / consequences is required as with what seems to be all other forms of 'valuing' something. This is not a counter to your claims, just an attempt at illuminating what (seems to me) to seperate notions of love from other forms of valuing. (Brought on largely by your attempt to bring them closer together, yes ;))
     

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