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Module Reading List

Love: Ethical, Social and Political Issues, 2019/20, Semester 2
Dr Natasha McKeever
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Reading list

1) Introduction

Compulsory reading:

Jollimore, Troy. Chapter 1. Love’s VisonOxford: Princeton University Press. 2011.      

2) Love without reasons (Frankfurt)

Compulsory reading:

Frankfurt, Harry G. The Reasons of Love (Chapter 1). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.       

Suggested reading:

Edyvane, Derek. ‘Against Unconditional Love’. Journal of Applied Philosophy. Vol. 20, No. 1. 2003.

Foster, Gary. ‘Bestowal Without Appraisal: Problems in Frankfurt’s Characterization of Love and Personal Identity’. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. Volume 12, 2009.

Frankfurt, Harry G. Necessity, Volition and Love. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Frankfurt, Harry G. The Importance of What We Care About. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Frankfurt, Harry G. ‘Reply to Susan Wolf’ in Buss, Sarah and Overton, Lee (eds.), The Contours of Agency: Essays on Themes from Harry Frankfurt. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.

Frankfurt, Harry G. ‘Taking Ourselves seriously and Getting it Right‘ in Satz, Debra (ed.) Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting it Right. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2006.

Jollimore, Troy. Love’s Vision. Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2011.

May, Simon. Love: A History. London: Yale University Press. 2011.

McKeever, Natasha. 'What Can We Learn about Romantic Love from Harry Frankfurt's Account of Love?' Journal of Ethics and Social PhilosophyVol 14, No. 3. 2019

Shand, John. ‘Love As If’. Essays in Philosophy. Volume 12, Issue 1, 2011.

Soble, Alan. ‘Review of “The Reasons of Love”. Essays in Philosophy. Volume 6, Issue 1. January 2005.

Solomon, Robert C. ‘Reasons for Love’. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Vol. 32, No. 1. 2002.

Taylor, Gabriele. ‘Love’. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Vol. 76 1975-1976

3) Love for reasons (properties view/ relationship view)


Compulsory reading:

Keller, Simon. ‘How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Properties.’ American Philosophical Quarterly. Vol. 37, No. 2. April 2000 

Suggested reading:

Delaney, Neil. ‘Romantic Love and Loving Commitment: Articulating a Modern Ideal.’ American Philosophical Quarterly. Vol. 33. No. 4, Oct. 1996

Edyvane, Derek. ‘Against Unconditional Love’. Journal of Applied Philosophy. Vol. 20, No. 1. 2003

Jollimore, Troy. Love’s Vision. Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2011

Kolodny, Niko. ‘Love as Valuing a Relationship’. The Philosophical Review, Vol. 112, No. 2 April 2003

Landrum, Ty. ‘Persons as Objects of Love’. Journal of Moral Philosophy. Vol. 6, 2009 

Naar, Hichem. ‘The Possibility of Fitting Love: Irreplaceability and Selectivity’Synthese.

Protasi, Sara. “Loving People For Who They Are (Even When They Don’t Love You Back)”, European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 10, 2016

Shand, John. ‘Love As If’. Essays in Philosophy. Volume 12, Issue 1, 2011.

4) The difference between friendship and romantic love

Compulsory reading:

Conlon, James: ‘Why Lovers Can’t be Friends’ from Stewart, Robert Michael. Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995    OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (fad 07/10/2019) 

Suggested readings:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books 8 and 9.

Conlon, James: ‘Why Lovers Can’t be Friends’ from Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love.

Klaassen, Johann A. ‘Friends and Lovers’ in Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 35 No. 3, Fall 2004,

Lewis, C.S. The Four Loves, London: Cox and Wyman, 1960

Nehamas, Alexander. On FriendshipNew York: Basic Books. 2016

Nozick, Robert. ‘Love’s Bond’ in Stewart, Robert M. (Ed.) Philosophical Perspectives on Sex & Love. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995

Rosenbury, Laura. ‘Friends with Benefits?’ Michigan Law Review. Vol. 106, No. 189, November 2007

5) Sex and love

Compulsory reading:

McKeever, Natasha. 'Love: What's Sex Got To Do With It'? International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 30(2), 201-218 (2016).

Suggested reading:

Giles, James, ‘A Theory of Love and Sexual Desire.’ Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 24 (4):339–357. 1994

Gregory, Paul. ‘Eroticism and Love’. American Philosophical Quarterly. Volume 25, Number 4. October 1988,

Scruton, Roger. Chapter 2, ‘Arousal,’ Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation,

Scruton, Roger. Chapter 3, ‘Desire,’ Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation, particularly pp. 74-76 (“The personal nature of the object of desire”), 78-83 (“Individualising thought” and “the first person perspective in desire”), 85-93 (“The course of desire” and “The aim of desire”).

Scruton, Roger. “The Moral Birds and Bees: Sex and Marriage, Properly understood.” National Review, September 13, 2005.  Available at  (Note this gives a nice overview of Scruton’s views on sexual morality but is no substitute for the detailed philosophical argument of the book chapters.)

Johnson, Edward. ‘Inscrutable Desires: Review Essay of Scruton’s Sexual Desire: A Moral Philosophy of the Erotic.’  In, Philosophy of the Social Sciences; vol. 20: pp. 208 – 221, June 1990

Nussbaum, Martha C. “Sex in the Head”, New York Review of Books, Volume 33, No. 20, (December 18th 1986)  (Review of Scruton’s Sexual Desire)

“Sexual Desire”: An Exchange, by Roger Scruton, reply by Martha C. Nussbaum, New York Review of Books, Vol. 34, No. 8, May 7th 1987.  Available online at:

6) Feminist critiques of romantic love

Compulsory reading:

De Beauvoir, Simone ‘Chapter 12: The Woman in Love’ The Second Sex (1949) full text here:  

Suggested reading

Friedman, Marilyn ‘Romantic Love and Personal Autonomy’. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 22 (1):162-181. 1998

Gregoratto, Federica. Why Love Kills: Power, Gender Dichotomy, and Romantic Femicide. Hypatia 32 (1):135-151. 2017

hooks, bell. The will to change: Men, masculinity, and love. London;New York;: Washington Square Press. 2004

Hooks, B. All about love: New visions. New York: William Morrow. 2000

Illouz, Eva. Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2012

Morgan, Kathryn Pauly. ‘Romantic Love, Altruism, and Self-Respect: An Analysis of Simone De Beauvoir’. Hypatia 1 (1):117 - 148. 1986

Overall, Christine. ‘Monogamy, Nonmonogamy, and Identity’. Hypatia. Vol. 13. No. 4 (Autumn 1998)

7) Monogamy and polyamory

Compulsory reading:

Chalmers, Harry. 'Is Monogamy Morally Permissible?' Journal of Value InquiryVol. 53, No. 2. 2019

Carrie Jenkins and Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa ‘On being the only ones’  

Suggested reading:

Ben Ze-ev, Aaron, and Brunning, Luke. 'How Complex is Your Love: The Case of Romantic Compromises and Polyamory' Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Vol. 48, No. 1 2018

Brunning, Luke. ‘The Distinctiveness of Polyamory’. Journal of Applied Philosophy. Vol. 35, No. 3. 2018

Emens, Elizabeth "Monogamy's Law: Compulsory Monogamy and Polyamorous Existence," NYU Review of Law & Social Change, 29. 2004

Finnis, John. ‘Marriage: A Basic and Exigent Good’. The Monist. Vol. 91, No.3 July 2008

Haupert, M., Gesselman, A. N., Moors, A. C. & Fisher, H. E., Prevalence of Experiences With Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships: Findings From Two National Samples of Single Americans. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 424-440. 2017.

Jenkins, Carrie, ‘Modal Monogamy’. Ergo, Vol. 2, No. 8, 2015

Liberto, Hallie, 2017. ‘The Problem with Sexual Promises. Ethics’, Vol. 127, pp. 383-414. 2017

Martin, Mike W. ‘Adultery and Fidelity’ in Philosophy and Sex.

McKeever, Natasha. 'Is the requirement of sexual exclusivity inconsistent with romantic love?' The Journal of Applied Philosophy, 34(3), 353-369 (2017). 

McMurtry, John. ‘Monogamy: A Critique’, The Monist, Vol. 67, pp587-99. (1972) 

Oppenheimer, M., 2011. Married, With Infidelities. The New York Times Magazine.. [Online] Available at:

Overall, Christine. ‘Monogamy, Nonmonogamy, and Identity’. Hypatia. Vol. 13. No. 4 Autumn 1998

Pope Paul VI. ‘Humanae Vitae’ in Philosophy and Sex.

Primoratz, Igor. Chapter 7: ‘Marriage, Adultery, Jealousy’ Ethics and Sex. London: Routledge. 1999.

Weaver, Bryan R. and Woollard, Fiona, “Marriage and the Norm of Monogamy”, The Monist, Volume 91, No. 3-4, July-October 2008


8) Adultery

Compulsory reading:

Wasserstrom, R., 1998. Is Adultery Immoral? In: R. B. Baker, F. A. Elliston & K. J. Winninger, eds. Philosophy and Sex. New York: Prometheus Books, pp. 139-150.    OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (fad 07/10/2019) 

Alternative version: Wasserstrom, Richard Is Adultery Immoral? Philosophical Forum  5 (4):513 (1974)

Suggested reading:

Glass, S. & Wright, T., ‘Justifications for Extramarital Relationships: The Association between Attitudes, Behaviours, and Gender’. The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 361-387. 1992

Halwani, R., Virtue Ethics and Adultery. Journal of Social Philosophy, 29(3), pp. 5-18. 1998

Martin, M. W., Adultery and Fidelity. In: R. Baker, F. Elliston & K. Wininger, eds. Philosophy and Sex. New York: Prometheus Books, pp. 151-162. 1998.

Shrage, L., ‘Adultery’ Moral Dilemmas of Feminism. New York and London: Routledge. 1994.

Steinbock, B., ‘Adultery’. Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, 6(1), pp. 12-14. 1986.

Wreen, M., What's Really Wrong With Adultery? International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 3(2). 1986. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (afp 18/11/2019) 

9) Marriage

Compulsory reading:

Brake, Elizabeth. ‘Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law’. Ethics, 120(2), 302-337. 2010  

Suggested reading:

Brooks, Thom. ‘The Problem with Polygamy.’ Philosophical Topics Vol. 37, issue 2 pp.109-22. 2009

Calhoun, Cheshire. ‘Who’s Afraid of Polygamous Marriage?’ San Diego Law Review. 2005 

Chambers, Clare ‘Against Marriage’

Chambers, Clare Against Marriage. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017

Chambers, Clare. ‘The Marriage‐Free state’. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 113 (2pt2), 123-143. 2013

Crookston, Emily. ‘Love and (Polygamous) Marriage?: A Liberal Case Against Polygamy’ Journal of Moral Philosophy, Volume 12, Issue 3. 06/2015,

Finnis, John. ‘Marriage: A Basic and Exigent Good’. The Monist. Vol. 91, No.3 July 2008

Geach, Mary Catherine. ‘Lying with the Body’ The Monist. Vol. 91, No.3, (July 2008

Moller, Dan. ‘An argument against marriage’. Philosophy, 78(1), 79-91. 2003


10) The Future of Love

Compulsory reading:

Jollimore, Troy ‘“This Endless Space between the Words”: The Limits of Love in Spike Jonze's Her’ Midwest Studies in Philosophy. 39 (1) 2015  

Suggested reading:

Arrell, Robbie (2018) ‘Should we Biochemically Enhance Sexual Fidelity?’, in Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 83, pp.389-414.

Danaher, John & McArthur, Neil (eds.), Robot Sex: Social Implications and Ethical. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2017

Di Nucci, Ezio. ‘Sexual Rights, Disability and Sex Robots’ in Danaher John & McArthur Neil (eds.), Sex Robots. MIT Press (forthcoming). A penultimate draft of the paper can be found here:

Nyholm, Sven & Frank, L. E.  ‘From sex robots to love robots: is mutual love with a robot possible?Robot sex: social and ethical implications. Danaher, J. & McArthur, N. (eds.). Cambridge: MIT Press 2017 

Nyholm, Sven. Love troubles: human attachment and biomedical enhancements. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 32(2) May 2015



This list was last updated on 07/11/2019