On Romantic Love

On Romantic Love : Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion

3.46 (82 ratings by Goodreads)
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Romantic love presents some of life's most challenging questions. Can we choose who to love? Is romantic love rational? Can we love more than one person at a time? And can we make ourselves fall out of love?

In On Romantic Love, Berit Brogaard attempts to get to the bottom of love's many contradictions. This short book, informed by both historical and cutting edge philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, combines a new theory of romantic love with entertaining anecdotes from real life and accessible explanations of the neuroscience underlying our wildest passions.

Against the grain, Brogaard argues that love is an emotion; that it can be, at turns, both rational and irrational; and that it can be manifested in degrees. We can love one person more than another and we can love a person a little or a lot or not at all. And love isn't even always something we consciously feel. However, love - like other emotions, both conscious and not - is subject to rational control, and falling in or out of it can be a deliberate choice. This engaging and innovative
look at a universal topic, featuring original line drawings by illustrator Gareth Southwell, illuminates the processes behind heartbreak, obsession, jealousy, attachment, and more.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 119 x 175 x 20mm | 273g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0190691999
  • 9780190691998
  • 1,269,878

Table of contents


Chapter 1: Letter from a Friend

Chapter 2: The Chemistry of Love
Your Brain on Crack
Beliefs and Brain Chemistry
Taking the Drug Away
Addicted to Grief
Emotional Pain
Stress, Pimples and Gray Hair
Love and Hate

Chapter 3: The Philosophy of Love
Love as an Emotion
Basic and Complex Emotions
The James-Lange Theory
The Conjunctive Theory of Emotions
The Connection Problem
The Problem of Emotional Responses to Fiction
The Perceived-Response Theory

Chapter 4: Irrational Love
Does the Idea of Irrational Love Make Sense?
You Call It Madness, I Call It Love
Irrational Compassionate Love
Love as a Moral Emotion
Love as a History
Love and Personal Identity
Is Love Unconditional?
Love and Personal Identity
Love and Sex

Chapter 5: Relationships and Insecure Attachment
Avoidant Attachment Style
Secure Versus Insecure Attachment
Avoidant Attachment
Anxious Attachment
Childish Relationships
Jealousy and Anxious Attachment
Attachment and the Relationship Theory
Can Attachment Styles Change?
Familiar Love
Attachment Love
Can Animals Love?
The Other Dimension of Sex

Chapter 6: Our Unconscious Affections
Opponents of Unconscious Affection
Unconscious Affect
Unconscious Love
In Your Dreams
Is Love a Disposition

Chapter 7: He Is Just Not That into You
(And Other In-Between Cases)
Prototype Theory
Non-Monogamous Love as In-Between Cases
"Love" is a Gradable Verb
He's Just Not That Into You

Chapter 8: How To Fall Out of Love
Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche
Psychoanalysis and Talk Therapy
Emotional Regulation and Avoidance Behavior
The Repetition Technique
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Deep Relaxation and Meditation
Heartbreak and Placement Conditioning
The Sinclair Method
Out, Damned Spot: Using Soap to Wash Away Your Negative Feelings
Emotional Regulation as a Route to Happiness

The End: The Heart Wants What It Wants

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Review quote

[C]ompared to other introductory books analysing love, this book is incredibly well balanced. [...] Firstly, the interdisciplinarity of bringing up the true nature of love from the perspectives of science, philosophy, and sociology. Brogaard does not just simply show us the research results of various different academic fields, but also turns those into stories, and constructs her own opinions based on them. * Ohata Hiroshi, Translated from Japanese by Hannah Kentridge * Brogaard's book is written to be accessible to general readers without sacrificing philosophical content. It offers more than enough interesting current theoretical work to merit serious attention by professional readers. Whimsical line drawings by illustrator Gareth Southwell add to the book's appeal. Essential. * Choice
* ...Berit Brogaard's On Romantic Love is an achievement... Brogaard illustrates her arguments with acute philosophical intelligence, stylistic verve, and concrete human examples... She allows readers to engage in a very personal way with profound, contentious philosophical positions. She also navigates easily through the tempestuous technical waters of contemporary neurological research on love, which is where we might expect a flood of future insights. * The Chronicle of Higher Education
* ...it is a helpful manual to be used in case of being harmed in love..." * Metapsychology Online Reviews
* [A] good read, pacy and informative with a nice balance of narratives, debate overviews and claim staking. * The Philosophers' Magazine *
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About Berit Brogaard

Berit Brogaard is Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami. Her book Transient Truths was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. In her academic research she specializes in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and the cognitive sciences.
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Rating details

82 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 15% (12)
4 37% (30)
3 32% (26)
2 15% (12)
1 2% (2)
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