What do people mean when they say "love"?

Do they know what they are saying or has the English language messed up the meaning, ie it may not exist? How does it differ from “like”? Is it pure feeling or is it a mixture of a bunch of experiences?

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    This seems very broad and likely to encourage only opinion based answers. It may be closed for that reason. If you associate the question with something you are reading and ask for an explanation of that text it may make the question more specific. Welcome! – Frank Hubeny Aug 7 '19 at 13:12
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    Welcome to Philosophy SE! Check out the SEP article. It's a very nice and readable introduction to this area. Your "is it pure or a mixture?" question might be related to section 5 on love as an emotion vs emotion complex. There are other views of love discussed in the article too, that view love not as strictly an emotion. – Adam Sharpe Aug 7 '19 at 14:27
  • Five feet of heaven in a ponytail. youtube.com/watch?v=_5-HHxwoa98 – user4894 Aug 7 '19 at 23:45

You are right in detecting a linguistic problem and I certainly think our modern society would be many notches better if like the ancient Greeks we nuanced love a bit more.

They had 6 words eros, philia, ludus, agape, pragma, philautia.

  • Eros : sexual love "out of control" hormones
  • Philia : genuine deep friendship
  • Ludus : playful "men guffawing drunk"
  • Agape : Universal love (Jesus, Mother Theresa type)
  • Pragma : "Staying in love" (rather than falling) Think the (rare!) 80 year old happily marrieds
  • Philautia : Self-love of the good sort, When you are deeply happy with yourself you have no need to run down or hurt others. Related to the vedantic idea of atma the ultimate unity of individual and universal self
  • I didn't realize they had so many words for love. Perhaps such answers can focus this question so it is not just opinion based. – Frank Hubeny Aug 7 '19 at 14:20
  • It's not a problem to have a rich and nuanced polysemous word. Native speakers would not ever confuse the love someone has for the mother, their lover, or their favourite flavour of icecream. – curiousdannii Aug 7 '19 at 23:35

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