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Philosopher studies ‘metaphysics of love’

By Stefania Seccia

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, Canada Research Chair in philosophy and University of B.C. professor, is asking the public to share their love stories via Twitter using #romanticloveis. 
(Photo submitted)

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, Canada Research Chair in philosophy and University of B.C. professor, is asking the public to share their love stories via Twitter using #romanticloveis. (Photo submitted)

What’s love got to do with it?

One Vancouver philosopher intends to find out through The Metaphysics of Love Project - a multi-year, analytical look into the perceptions and realities of romantic love.

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, Canada Research Chair in philosophy, is now turning to Twitter and asking the public to contribute their observations and experiences of romantic love using the hashtag #romanticloveis.

“What I’m looking for is people’s perspectives on things like what role does love play in their life? What kind of value does it have? Is it important? Is it unimportant? Why?” she said. “I think how we think about love is changing in a lot of ways.”

Ichikawa Jenkins, who received funding from the University of B.C. for the project, has been fascinated with the concept of romantic love for a long time and is reading as much as she can on the subject and talking to many people about it as well.

“I’m reading things out of hardcore scientific literature to the other end of the spectrum, really humanities-based research and critical social theory,” she said. “There are very different claims of what love is in those different contexts.”

From her research, there are those who claim love is a product of human evolution, like hunger, which prompts monogamous pair bonding for the purpose of raising children. Then there’s the other spectrum of feminist-based critiques of what romantic love does.

“It looks very different from changing universal biological phenomena to (it being) culturally shaped by social forces,” she said. “What I’m trying to do with those two conflicting pictures is see them as complementary rather than conflictive.”

For more information, visit www.themetaphysicsoflove.com.

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