Posted: February 19, 2013
‘Love and Attachment’
Edward Harcourt, Keble College, Oxford
According to attachment theory, the disposition to form attachments to certain other conspecifics has been selected for in both humans and (at least) other primates. This paper argues that though love is not identical with attachment, love is the form attachment takes in human beings. Seeing love this way helps both to adjudicate between ‘bestowal’ and ‘appraisal’ accounts of the reasons for love, and to present a regulative ideal for love that transcends poorly motivated boundaries between (e.g.) filial and ‘romantic’ love, in particular by extending the ideal – as some Kantian regulative ideals do not – to love between human beings and their very young children.