The question that is nagging me is that if romantic love happens after an individual achieves a certain degree of financial success or any condition that may be desirable, is such a love more love like, than love that has very few conditions? I would like to read on this and related topics. Can someone refer me to a book or source that discusses love and its conditions?

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    As written, I'm not sure it's a good ft for our site, because it's going to inspire mostly opinion-based answers as written (including claims based on sociobiology). At a minimum, can you explain what you mean by "pure"? What sort of framework should answers operate under?
    – virmaior
    Sep 12 '15 at 4:37
  • i've never read a philosopher as opposed to psychologist, say much on romantic love. supposing that someone has, seriously, i do suppose that they address your question, tho
    – user6917
    Sep 12 '15 at 4:46
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    @MATHEMATICIAN I'm not sure your edit necessarily improved the question. / There's quite a few philosophers who have written about love (as you note from the IEP).
    – virmaior
    Sep 12 '15 at 6:19
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    @MATHEMATICIAN I rolled back your edit because it changed too much.
    – user2953
    Sep 13 '15 at 19:00
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    There are some interesting angles here. Unconditional love means no reasons for love, which would seem to render it immune to any logical analysis (which would require analyzing the premises and inferences thereof), which makes it seem the antithesis of philosophy or at least what philosophy generally values.
    – R. Barzell
    Sep 14 '15 at 15:18

It is unfortunate that "love" in English has so many meanings, with at least these three:

  1. agape - willing the good of another person independent of one's self.
  2. eros - attraction (from where we get "erotic")
  3. philios - "brotherly love" - something like friendship or love for the mutual benefit of two people

To address your question, it seems that you may be equating different kinds of love that ought not to be - one type isn't more "real" than another, although in some cases may be exhibiting one particular type better or worse.

The IEP has a good article giving a high-level overview of the philosophy of love, and it suggests these readings:

  1. Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics.
  2. Aristotle Rhetoric. Rhys Roberts (trans.).
  3. Augustine De bono viduitatis.
  4. LaFallotte, Hugh (1991). "Personal Relations." Peter Singer (ed.) A Companion to Ethics. Blackwell, pp. 327-32.
  5. Plato Phaedrus.
  6. Plato Symposium.
  7. Scheler, Max (1954). The Nature of Sympathy. Peter Heath (trans.). New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Digging further beyond the first three meanings you supply, it is worth arguing that poets have spent centuries trying to pin the meaning on the word "love," and they're still working at it every day.
    – Cort Ammon
    Sep 15 '15 at 22:52

To paraphrase your question: Is conditional love more love-like than unconditional love?

I believe the short answer is "no" since, as has been pointed out, many different definitions of "love" exist. And by what measure could one form be more love-like than another?

The concept of pragmatic love or pragma that may fit what you ask about. It is an ancient concept. One can imagine all sorts of conditions between partners engaging in pragma.

Pragmatic lovers want to find value in their partners, and ultimately want to work with their partner to reach a common goal. The practicality and realism of pragmatic love often aides longevity of the relationship, as long as common goals and values remain shared for the duration.


Unconditional love could refer to agape.

Pragma and agape are neither more love-like than the other. Both fall under what we refer to as "love." Different authors define "love" very differently. There seems to be no centrality to "love."

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