Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2021
The Everywhere and the Nowhere of Phenomenological Ethics
Phenomenology and the Ethics of Love
Phenomenologists have long viewed love as a central form of inter-subjective engagement. I show here that it is also of concern to phenomenological ethics. After establishing the relation of phenomenology to ethics, I show that both classical and existential phenomenology view love as an act of valuing the loved one. I argue that a second act of valuing is latent in phenomenology: valuing the relationship. These values are evident in the phenomenological distinction between true love, which generates a “perspective in difference,” and false love, which seeks union with the beloved manifesting in devotion and/or jealousy. Because culturally dominant heteronormative scripts incline individuals toward false love, lovers should create their own pacts for ethical relationships. I consider consensually non-monogamous relationships as an example.