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Romantic Love and Monogamy: A Philosophical Exploration

McKeever, Natasha (2014) Romantic Love and Monogamy: A Philosophical Exploration. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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For many people, to love someone romantically entails being in a monogamous relationship with them. However, on reflection, it seems odd to make your love for someone conditional on them renouncing two things of great value – love and sex, with other people. This thesis seeks to explore whether monogamy is compatible with romantic love, and whether it ought to be the hegemonic norm that it is. I argue that romantic love is a distinct and valuable kind of love and that there might be advantages to sharing it with only one other person, but that it is possible for it to exist between more than two people. Furthermore, it makes sense that such a relationship will have a sexual element, since sex can act as a vehicle for some of the central goods we find in romantic love. Therefore, restricting sex to that relationship can be a way of affirming the value of the relationship and marking it out as distinct from friendships. Thus, monogamy is compatible with romantic love. Nonetheless, monogamy is not ceteris paribus morally superior to non-monogamous forms of sexual and loving relationship and it ought not to be a hegemonic norm. This is because, by being such a dominant norm, the potential value it can have is diminished, as people are robbed of the opportunity to choose it for the right reasons. Furthermore, the dominance of the norm can lead us to overlook the real point of sexual fidelity and mistakenly equate it with love, as well as under-emphasising other ways of being faithful to a romantic partner.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605428
Depositing User: Dr Natasha McKeever
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 12:24
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5666

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