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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2012

Adam Kadlac
Pages 33-54
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract20123812

Irreplaceability and Identity

There is a puzzle about how we might sensibly love someone as the particular person she is despite changes in that person’s characteristics that are sometimes radical. In light of this puzzle, I argue that our most intimate relationships are centered around historical relational properties that serve two important functions. On the one hand, they render individuals irreplaceable to us. On the other, they constitute individuals as the particular persons they are. If this account is plausible, then to love another because she is the person she is is not to love her because of her characteristics. Rather, it is to love her in light of a unique history that cannot be shared with anyone else and has made her who she is.