An overview of the nature of love

References and Further Reading 1. The Nature of Love: Eros, Philia, and Agape The philosophical discussion regarding love logically begins with questions concerning its nature. This implies that love has a "nature," a proposition that some may oppose arguing that love is conceptually irrational, in the sense that it cannot be described in rational or meaningful propositions.

An overview of the nature of love

First published in American Psychologist, 13, Love is a wondrous state, deep, tender, and rewarding. Because of its intimate and personal nature it is regarded by some as an improper topic for experimental research.

But, whatever our personal feelings may be, our assigned mission as psychologists is to analyze all facets of human and animal behavior into their component variables.

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So far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have failed in this mission. The little we know about love does not transcend simple observation, and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists. But of greater concern is the fact that psychologists tend to give progressively less attention to a motive which pervades our entire lives.

Psychologists, at least psychologists who write textbooks, not only show no interest in the origin and development of love or affection, but they seem to be unaware of its very existence.

The apparent repression of love by modem psychologists stands in sharp contrast with the attitude taken by many famous and normal people. The word "love" has the highest reference frequency of any word cited in Bartlett's book of Familiar Quotations. It would appear that this emotion has long had a vast interest and fascination for human beings, regardless of the attitude taken by psychologists; but the quotations cited, even by famous and normal people, have a mundane redundancy.

These authors and authorities have stolen love from the child and infant and made it the exclusive property of the adolescent and adult. Thoughtful men, and probably all women, have speculated on the nature of love.

From the developmental point of view, the general plan is quite clear: The initial love responses of the human being are those made by the infant to the mother or some mother surrogate. From this intimate attachment of the child to the mother, multiple learned and generalized affectional responses are formed.

Unfortunately, beyond these simple facts we know little about the fundamental variables underlying the formation of affectional responses and little about the mechanisms through which the love of the infant for the mother develops into the multifaceted response patterns characterizing love or affection in the adult.

Because of the dearth of experimentation, theories about the fundamental nature of affection have evolved at the level of observation, intuition, and discerning guesswork, whether these have been proposed by psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, physicians, or psychoanalysts.

The position commonly held by psychologists and sociologists is quite clear: The basic motives are, for the most part, the primary drives -- particularly hunger, thirst, elimination, pain, and sex -- and all other motives, including love or affection, are derived or secondary drives.

The mother is associated with the reduction of the primary drives -- particularly hunger, thirst, and pain -- and through learning, affection or love is derived. It is entirely reasonable to believe that the mother through association with food may become a secondary-reinforcing agent, but this is an inadequate mechanism to account for the persistence of the infant-maternal ties.

There is a spate of researches on the formation of secondary reinforcers to hunger and thirst reduction. There can be no question that almost any external stimulus can become a secondary reinforcer if properly associated with tissue-need reduction, but the fact remains that this redundant literature demonstrates unequivocally that such derived drives suffer relatively rapid experimental extinction.

Contrariwise, human affection does not extinguish when the mother ceases to have intimate association with the drives in question. Instead, the affectional ties to the mother show a lifelong, unrelenting persistence and, even more surprising, widely expanding generality. Oddly enough, one of the few psychologists who took a position counter to modern psychological dogma was John B.

Watson, who believed that love was an innate emotion elicited by cutaneous stimulation of the erogenous zones.

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But experimental psychologists, with their peculiar propensity to discover facts that are not true, brushed this theory aside by demonstrating that the human neonate had no differentiable emotions, and they established a fundamental psychological law that prophets are without honor in their own profession.

The psychoanalysts have concerned themselves with the problem of the nature of the development of love in the neonate and infant, using ill and aging human beings as subjects.

They have discovered the overwhelming importance of the breast and related this to the oral erotic tendencies developed at an age preceding their subjects' memories. Their theories range from a belief that the infant has an innate need to achieve and suckle at the breast to beliefs not unlike commonly accepted psychological theories.There is/was a problem with your internet connection.

Please note that some features may not function properly. Please refresh your browser if your internet. If surfing isn’t your thing, but big waves are, then you’ll love an outrigger canoe ride off Waikiki Beach! Ancient Hawaiians used outrigger canoes . invites you to look inside the human mind: articles, factfiles and interesting psychological tests for you to take.

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Aristotle (— B.C.E.) Aristotle is a towering figure in ancient Greek philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and was a student of Plato who in turn studied under Socrates.

He was more empirically-minded than Plato or Socrates and . Year of You approach love at full tilt, Aries, so when love goddess Venus joins dreamy Neptune in imaginative Pisces at the end of February, you’re out of your element.

But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Because this is the only time this aspect occurs this year, give yourself some creative freedom in the bedroom.

This chapter explores the nature of love. It begins by considering contemporary theories of love, including the responsiveness theory, the volitional theory associated with the work of Harry Frankfurt, and Niko Kolodny's relational account.

An overview of the nature of love
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