The Syndrome of Love



What is love? In this paper I argue that love is a psychological syndrome, or an enormously complex cluster of psychological attitudes and dispositions that’s accompanied by a corresponding set of symptoms that flow from it. More specifically, I argue that love is an affectionate loyalty that takes different shapes across cases and that manifests itself in some set of behavioral and emotional expressions, where this set of expressions also varies across cases. After laying down three theoretical constraints that viable theories of love must satisfy, I sketch my syndrome theory of love in detail and then defend it. First, I argue that it has a strong yet defeasible claim to satisfying the three theoretical constraints. Then I defend my theory against two objections that target its extensional adequacy. I conclude that we have good grounds for being optimistic about the theory even though it calls for further development and scrutiny.


How to Cite: Stringer, R. (2021) “The Syndrome of Love”, Ergo. 7(0). doi: