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Love as sickness: the analogy put to the test

Bacchini, Fabio (2008) Love as sickness: the analogy put to the test. Medische Antropologie, Vol. 20 (1), p. 13-26. ISSN 0925-4374. Article.

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Abstract

The analogy between love and sickness is a powerful conceptual device that structures our understanding of love (and perhaps partly our understanding of sickness, too). We grasp love in the way we do because we have this analogy in mind. My aim in this paper is, firstly, to explore some of the reasons that can be called up to justify the analogy. I will try to identify the properties that love and sickness can be considered to share. I will therefore point out that love and sickness are both characterized by being alterations, conditions demanding a solution, seeming inexplicable, being detectable by symptoms, and so on. These common traits can provide some foundations for the analogy. But a good analogy is not created just because some common traits exist: the shared properties need to be relevant, and the analogy should let us discover new, interesting things about our target concept. So my second question in this paper is: what can we learn about love if we take the analogy between love and sickness seriously? I will develop the analogy, and will try to examine whether some other important traits of sickness can nevertheless be discovered in love, and how they are disguised. Sick persons are not normally responsible for their condition; sickness has possible causes and possible effects; there are therapies, doctors, hospitals, contagion, right or wrong diagnoses; sickness has special relations with voluntariness, and with beliefs. What does all this become on the side of love? Is the analogy successful, or does it end in failure?

Item Type:Article
ID Code:9137
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Love, sickness, disease, illness, analogy, metaphor
Subjects:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-FIL/02 Logica e filosofia della scienza
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01-a Nuovi Dipartimenti dal 2012 > Architettura, Design e Urbanistica
Publisher:[Universiteit van Amsterdam]
ISSN:0925-4374
Deposited On:01 Jul 2013 16:05

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