Volume 3, Issue 2, Spring 2013
Selected Papers on The Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand
Love and the Will in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love
Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love is a deep and penetrating analysis of love as a value-response, in which he elucidates many facets of, and distinctions within, this greatest gift to the human person. Building upon his work, The Heart, von Hildbrand follows the implications of the affective character of love as a response to the value of other persons, and indicates numerous ways in which love goes beyond other affective responses. What I shall argue in this paper, however, is that his thesis, if considered as fully capturing the essence of love, is inadequate to fully describe our lived experience of often having to love in the absence of a full and sufficiently heartfelt response to the beloved. In truth we are called to love whether or not our heart responds adequately in a given situation, and this aspect, the verb-character of love, or where love and the will intersect, is what I believe is not completely ignored but is under-examined by von Hildebrand in this work. As such, I hope that the reader will see that I am not attempting to refute his thesis but rather to elucidate what I believe is a boundary which I do not see adequately addressed in his work.