Philosophy of love is the field of social philosophy and ethics which attempts to explain the nature of love. The philosophical investigation of love includes the tasks of distinguishing between the various kinds of personal love; asking if and how love is/can be justified; asking what the value of love is; and what impact love has on the autonomy of both the lover and the beloved.
There are many different theories which attempt to explain what love is, and what function it serves. It would be very difficult to explain love to a hypothetical person who had not himself or herself experienced love or being loved. In fact, to such a person love would appear to be quite strange if not outright irrational behavior. Among the prevailing types of theories that attempt to account for the existence of love there are: psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider love to be very healthy behavior; there are evolutionary theories which hold that love is part of the process of natural selection; there are spiritual theories which may, for instance consider love to be a gift from God; there are also theories that consider love to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience.
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“Parents must begin to discover their children as individuals of developing tastes and views and so help them be, and see, themselves as thinking, feeling people. It is far too easy for a middle-years child to absorb an over-simplified picture of himself as a sloppy, unreliable, careless, irresponsible, lazy creature and not much morean attitude toward himself he will carry far beyond these years.”
—Dorothy H. Cohen (20th century)