Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Adrienne Martin

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There is a wealth of philosophical literature on love. The two main camps of literature are descriptive and analytical. The former aims to best synthesize and describe how people manifest love in real life, while the latter takes the normative position of evaluating how people should be loving, which normally blends love with a hint of ethical or justice related principles.

One hidden theme that underlies many of the debates on love is the relation to the lover’s self. As this paper will gradually unfold, there are many self-interested reasons disguised behind the philosophical definition of love and the reason to fall in love and to sustain loving relationships. Beyond critiquing some of the overly self-centered descriptive definitions of love, this paper seeks to highlight the conflict between descriptive camp’s ego-leaning, and analytical camp’s ego-abstaining account of love. The conflict, at first sight, appears to render it impossible for a person to demonstrate both forms of love simultaneously. To address this challenge, this paper will explore three possible arguments supporting the compatibility of Buddhist love and personal love. Specifically, it will examine how prioritizing a select group of individuals can coexist with the commitment of practicing compassion for all.