This week I'm getting seriously to work on a new paper in the epistemology of romantic love. I'm going to explore how scientific studies of romantic love use self-reporting as the basis of their methodology, and discuss some of the epistemological effects of this. (For example, does reliance on self-report mean that a study is liable to select for subjects who feel that their situation is a "clear case" of romantic love? If so, how might feeling that way be correlated with factors like personality, or with extrinsic social norms?)
Epistemologically speaking, we are rarely in a position to accept surveys or scientific studies as the arbiters of deep and difficult philosophical debates, or to accept unquestioningly whatever they may appear to be telling us. This is never clearer than when the subject is something so metaphysically fraught and poorly understood as romantic love, yet the epistemological complexities of this particular situation are rarely given their due.
I have two more project papers in the pipeline at this stage. One is co-authored with project research assistants Jasper Heaton and Aida Roige Mas, and will explore connections between popular music and the social construction of romantic love. The other is called 'All Hearts In Love Use Their Own Tongues: Concepts, Verbal Disputes, and Disagreeing About Love', and will draw connections between my previous work on concepts and disagreement and my new research on romantic love. My book What Love Is And What It Could Be is also moving into late-stage manuscript editing, and I've been preparing various applications to help fund future research. All in all, it's a busy time for the Metaphysics of Love Project!
So, back to work ...