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Module Reading List

Love: Ethical, Social and Political Issues, 2021/22, 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.   

Suggested reading:

Jenkins, Carrie. What Love is (and what it could be). New York: Basic Books, 2017.

2) Love without reasons (Frankfurt)

Compulsory reading:

Frankfurt, Harry G. The Reasons of Love (Chapter 2). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.    

Suggested reading:

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

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

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

Frankfurt, Harry G. The Importance of What We Care AboutCambridge: 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 FrankfurtCambridge, 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 VisionOxford: 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 BehaviourVol. 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 QuarterlyVol. 37, No. 2. April 2000  

Suggested reading:

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

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

Jollimore, Troy. Love’s VisionOxford: 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 LoveOxford: Oxford University Press. 1995   Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva (Available in the online course readings folder)

Suggested readings:

Aristotle, Nicomachean EthicsBooks 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 & LoveOxford: Oxford University Press. 1995 Available here:

Rosenbury, Laura. ‘Friends with Benefits?’ Michigan Law ReviewVol. 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 QuarterlyVolume 25, Number 4. October 1988

Halwani, R. (2018). Philosophy of love, sex, and marriage : an introduction  (Second edition.). New York, New York ;: Routledge.

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”).

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:  p. 773-785 ONLY  

Firestone, Shulamith, 'Love' The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970) full text here: pp 126-136 only 

Illouz, Eva. Why Love Hurts: A Sociological ExplanationCambridge: Polity Press. 2012 p. 59-74 ONLY (available online through the library)  

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 ExplanationCambridge: 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’. HypatiaVol. 13. No. 4 (Autumn 1998)

Solomon, Robert. 'Love and Feminism' in Baker, R., & Wininger, K. (2009). Philosophy and sex : adultery, monogamy, feminism, rape, same-sex marriage, abortion, promiscuity, perversion (4th ed.). Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books. 

7) Monogamy and polyamory

Compulsory reading:

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

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

Suggested reading:

Bennett, Christopher. 'Liberalism, Autonomy and Conjugal Love'. Res Publica (Liverpool, England), Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 285–301.2003

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 PhilosophyVol. 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 MonistVol. 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’. ErgoVol. 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’. HypatiaVol. 13. No. 4 Autumn 1998

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

Primoratz, Igor. Chapter 7: ‘Marriage, Adultery, Jealousy’ Ethics and SexLondon: 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, Richard Is Adultery Immoral? Philosophical Forum  5 (4):513 (1974)   OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (fad 07/10/2019) (Available in the online course readings folder)

Suggested reading:

Glass, S. & Wright, T., ‘Justifications for Extramarital Relationships: The Association between Attitudes, Behaviours, and Gender’. The Journal of Sex ResearchVol. 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 SexNew York: Prometheus Books, pp. 151-162. 1998.

McKeever, N. (2020) Why, and to What Extent, Is Sexual Infidelity Wrong?. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly

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

Steinbock, B., ‘Adultery’. Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly6(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 Review2005 

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)

Halwani, R. (2018). Philosophy of love, sex, and marriage : an introduction (Second edition.). New York, New York ;: Routledge.

Mckeever, N. (2013). Elizabeth Brake: Minimizing Marriage: Marriage, Morality and the Law. Res Publica, 19(3), 285–289. 

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

10) The Future of Love

Compulsory reading:

Savulescu, J., & Sandberg, A. (2008). Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us. Neuroethics1(1), 31–44.  (Please read first)

Nyholm, Sven. Love troubles: human attachment and biomedical enhancements. Journal of Applied Philosophy32(2) May 2015  

Suggested reading:

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

Earp, B., & Savulescu, J. (2018). Love drugs: Why scientists should study the effects of pharmaceuticals on human romantic relationships. Technology in Society, 52, 10–16.

Earp, B., Sandberg, A., & Savulescu, J. (2015). The Medicalization of Love. 24(3), 323–336.

Earp, B., Wudarczyk, O., Sandberg, A., & Savulescu, J. (2013). If I Could Just Stop Loving You: Anti-Love Biotechnology and the Ethics of a Chemical Breakup. The American Journal of Bioethics, 13(11), 3–17. 

Mcgee, A. (2016). Is there such a thing as a love drug? Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology : PPP, 23(2), 79–92,181–182.

Naar, H. (2016). Real‐World Love Drugs: Reply to Nyholm. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 33(2), 197–201. 

Nyholm, S. (2015). The Medicalization of Love and Narrow and Broad Conceptions of Human Well-Being. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24(3), 337–346.

Spreeuwenberg, Lotte. (2019). Taking the Love Pill: A Reply to Naar and Nyholm. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 36(2), 248–256.

This list was last updated on 03/03/2022