Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2008


Romantic love and its predecessor eros have both been characterized as forms of egoistic love. Part of this claim is concerned specifically with the relation between love and knowledge. Real love, it is claimed, is prior to knowledge and is not motivated by it. Romantic love and eros according to this view are egoistic in that they are motivated by a desire for knowledge. Agapic love characterized by bestowal represents a true form of love unmotivated by selfish desires. I argue that such an emphasis on bestowal at the expense of knowledge or appraisal of the beloved is problematic. The knowledge dimension of romantic love, rather than contributing to selfishness, can be a means of freeing us from egoism when we understand identity in its relational or social form.


This article was originally published in Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Association, 47(2): 235-251. (c) 2008 Canadian Philosophical Association