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Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that love is a distinctively intimate form of concern in which we in some sense identify with our beloveds; it is common, moreover, to construe such identification in terms of the lover’s taking on the interests of the beloved. From this starting point, Harry Frankfurt argues that the paradigm form of love is that between parents and infants or young children. I think this is mistaken: the kind of loving attitude or relationship we can have towards or with young children is distinct in kind from that which we can have towards adult persons, as is revealed by reflection on the depth of love and its phenomenology. My aim is to present an alternative conception of the sort of distinctively intimate identification at issue in love, arguing that this account makes better sense of love and our experience of love.

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