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Nozick and Delaney on love case study based assignment

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Nozick and Delaney on love


Forming a new entity, or a ‘we’, which is characterized by some changes in your attitudes towards your (and your beloved’s) well-being, autonomy, and identity:

  1. Well-being 
  • Your well-being is tied to that of your beloved: You regard the promotion of her well-being as a good for you.
  • It makes you vulnerable (challenges to your beloved’s well-being can be beyond your control, and yet they’ll affect you) and it affords some protection (your beloved will be invested in your own well-being).


Question:    Are we talking about what actually constitutes your beloved’s well-being, and yours, or what each of you regards as his/her own well-being? Suppose that your beloved wants to embark on some journey which is important for   her, even though it involves some level of risk. You want her to be safe, so you      regard  he promotion of her not pursuing that journey as something good. She, however,  egards the promotion of her pursuing that journey as something good. 

Are you acting out of love when you dissuade her from embarking on that journey? 

  1. Autonomy 
  • Decisions are no longer made alone.
  • It makes sense if your well-being affects your beloved’s, and vice versa. 
  1. Identity 
  • You make your beloved a ‘special area of attention’ (as a part of who you are, in some sense?).
  • Division of labour: Some things only need to be enjoyed by one of the two people.
  • Adopting the same desires and interests as those of your beloved? 

Delaney on this aspect of love:

Adopting the same desires and interests as those of your beloved doesn’t seem to capture the idea of uniting with the other person.

  • You don’t want your beloved to appropriate your projects.
  • And yet, you don’t want her to be a mere spectator.

            We need, then, a level of involvement in the beloved's projects, without taking over.

      Question: Is the idea of forming a joint identity anything over and above the well-being idea above? 


  1. You want your beloved to be ‘fully possessed’ by you / be ‘the whole world’ for her.
  2. You want your beloved to love you freely.

Question:    Isn’t there a tension between (i) and (ii)?

Question: Isn’t there a tension between (iii) and (ii)?


  1. You want to be loved ‘for yourself’ (as opposed to your money, beauty, etc.)
  2. You think your beloved shouldn’t trade up if another person with lots of positive features comes along.

It seems to make sense that we have both ideals: If your beloved loves you for yourself, then she doesn’t love you for your properties. So it seems pointless to trade up in the hopes of getting more positive properties in another person.

  1. You want to be loved ‘for the right reasons’ 
  • Not for a version of yourself (but for something that you take to be central about you)
  • Not for something that is central about you in an instrumental way, but in itself.
  • You want the love you receive to be deserved.

You want your beloved to be discerning (as opposed to someone who’d love a schmuck).


Question:    Isn’t there a tension between (iv) and (vi) on the one hand and, on the other hand, between (v) and (vii)?

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  • Posted on : November 03rd, 2022
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