Claims about what love is are not hard to find. They're certainly not only made by philosophers or other researchers. They are everywhere: in conversations, songs, poems, movies, advice columns, novels, marriage vows, operas, legal reasonings, TV shows ... everywhere.
Of course, not all of claims that start with "Love is ..." are totally serious identity theories of romantic love. (An identity theory, in the metaphysician's sense, is a theory that makes an identification between romantic love and something describable in other terms. For example, one sort of -- totally serious -- identity theory states that love is a certain kind of desire for union.)
But I'm very interested in generating a list of identity theories (serious or otherwise) found "in the wild", by which I just mean claims about what romantic love is that do not emanate from the scholarly philosophical enterprise, but from anywhere and everywhere else. Because serious or not, these ways people talk about what love is form an important part of the context against which this project, investigating the metaphysics of love, takes place.
Earlier today I was (re-)watching Holoship,* an episode of the cult British TV sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, in which the character Nirvana Crane makes the following speech:
We have developed beyond "love", Mr Rimmer. That is a short-term hormonal distraction, which interferes with the pure pursuit of personal advancement.
An identity theory can be extracted from this passage: the identification of romantic love as a short-term hormonal distraction (some details of the effects of which are then specified).
It would be wonderful to crowd-source a list of identity theories of romantic love found in the wild. If you know of one, please feel free to comment here or to get in touch.
* I have no shame in confessing that I have probably watched this -- and most other classic episodes of this particular show -- over 100 times. Yes I am that kind of geek.