The subject of reactive attitudes has brought into light various perspectives and angles of approach in the discussion of this subject. Reactive attitudes that occur as responses towards certain behaviors and characters reflects the perception and opinions of a particular person basing on how they portray certain traits or characters. In this paper, we analyze love as a reactive attitude and further include the Aristotelian criterion in the disposition towards love. Arguments presented in this paper suffices the idea that love occurs as a reactive attitude.
Love as a reactive attitude depicts an affectionate attachment to another person. It occurs as a non-interested response to certain kinds of attributes of the loved one in the interaction with the lover. The manifestation of love takes different acts of goodwill, motivational responses, and affective attributes of one towards the other. As a reactive attitude, love occurs as an appropriate response to morally significant traits such as loyalty, steadfastness, interpersonal warmth, compassion, and sincerity amongst other virtues. Lovers endeavor to realize and appreciate good qualities of their beloved ones. The good qualities formed the common ground in which lovers foresaw a ‘happy ever after’ life with their lovers. In most cases, the reasons for intimate relationship breakups include selfishness, creepiness, and inconsideration, amongst other undesirable traits, referred to as vices. Partners who end up separating cite these undesirable traits as the consequence of relationship breakups. On the contrary, may be at the beginning of the relationship, the accused partner depicted desirable traits of care and compassion. Such a scenario suffices the idea that love occurs as a central reaction to morally perceived significant traits (Abramson, K. & Leite 675 ).
Love prevails in the relationship between individuals with one another. For example, parents love their children, teenage and adults love their parents, religious doctrines such as Christianity teach of the essence of love amongst all. The teachings on love embody the calling of individuals to demonstrate desirable qualities towards one another. In the Biblical context, Jesus was loved because of His desirable traits as He expressed compassion and care for multitudes. The miracles Jesus performed reinforced His good qualities, an aspect that garnered Him mass followings. Love is justified as the response to the goodness of the beloved (Abramson, K. & Leite, 682). Moral qualities occur as the epitome of love expressions from one person to the next.
What would it look like to have a disposition towards that attitude?
The Aristotelian argument on virtuous character depicts something more than the experience and depicting certain actions, behaviors, and emotions considered as good or desirable (Aristotle 53). According to Aristotle, desirable outward behavior and emotional experience should also reflect consistency with other cognitive factors. Cognitive factors employ psychologists’ view of creating rules and their explanations of human behavior. It is a scientific approach to justifying human behavior. Aristotle reinforces his arguments that virtue should depict an element of reasoning and learning.
Further, Aristotle asserts that moral virtues represent an intermediary between a vice of excess and a vice of defect. A vice of excess refers to characters that encompass excessive behavior and emotions beyond certain limit sets, depicting it as undesirable. For examples, short-tempered individuals may portray extreme behaviors when in cases of anger. On the other hand, a vice of defect refers to the portrayal of characters of an individual that fails to suffice a particular emotion leading to insufficiency in behavior attributes towards a particular way, considered as undesirable. According to Aristotle, virtues and vices portray significance based on the behavioral and emotional responses associated with the aspect of a character. For example, when a person acts ‘out of anger’, it is clear that the behaviors and emotions exhibited may reflect mental illness, transient influences, and other extenuating circumstances (Aristotle 82).
The Aristotelian criterion suffices the approach and disposition towards love. The conceptualization of love in the ideal conditions encompasses its definition in the lines of right time, right fashion, and towards the right people. Love depicts a connection between one’s heart and the others embodying the elements of care and affection towards an individual. Key markers to love includes taking time and efforts with the beloved thereby depicting a sense of the significance of an individual on their beloved. In relationships, time occurs as a defining factors in the intensity of love portrayed by an individual on others. For example, during courtship and dating periods, the partners exhibit an intimate affection towards another. In this period, partners reflect on the desirable attributes depicted by their partners. It is only time that tells whether they will engage further in a serious commitment such as marriage. During the dating period, partners look into more than the desirable attributes and endeavor to view the consistency of an individual’s reasoning and learning on certain aspects. The period between dating and marriage marks a significant time frame where individuals find out more about their partners.
The portrayal of love in the right fashion dictates the manner in which individuals portray their love towards others. Emotional and behavioral responses towards others in the form of love takes the right action course as a reflection of how others feel about an individual. The intensity of love may differ between relationships. However, the right course of actions that depict love reflects upon these relationships. People portray love only on right people, people they feel they deserve their emotional and behavioral goodwill.
As a reactive attitude, love brings into play various the emotional and behavioral elements that explain love. Love is a significant concept in our lives. The immense contribution of love reflects the essence portraying love to the right persons, at the right time, and in the appropriate fashion. Love transcends in the lives of individuals creating desirable traits.
Abramson, Kate. & Leite, Adam. (2011). “Love as a reactive emotion”. The Philosophical Quartely. Vol. 61, (2011): 674-699. Print.
Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics. New York: Hackett Publishing, 2014. Print.
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