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Duty And Love Essay

872 words - 3 pages

Q .14: What Frankfurt means & the problem with the contrast between duty and love .By Brian MurrayCourse : Intro to the Moral PhilosophyDate : 19 October 2013Duty and love are two separate concepts which occasionally overlap. However, it is sometimes difficult to discern these overlaps due to their lack of exact definitions. If you ask somebody what "love" is they will give it their own unique meaning based on their own experience with the emotion, in all its forms. Frankfurt discusses the difference between these two concepts and as a way of showing how they overlap, he discusses the act of giving somebody money who is in need of it (Frankfurt p. 8). He does this by giving an example of two men, one acting out of love and the other out of duty. Frankfurt states that, in the case of the man acting out of love, "his love of the needy person in part explains why he helps him, but it does not serve him as a reason for helping" (Frankfurt p. 9).By this Frankfurt means that while this man gives the poor man money due to loving the poor man, he does not do it to serve his own needs. He does it without consideration of himself, in that acting out of love is never about the self, it is only ever about the entity being loved. Acts of love are done without a sense of duty, we care for our beloved due to the fact that we love it. Our caring for our beloved does not give rise to love, but love does give rise to caring. This value our beloved has to us is a direct result of love (Frankfurt p. 6).Due to this value we hold for our beloved we will act selflessly in pursuit of maintaining the safety of our beloved, acting not in self-service but doing our utmost to bring happiness to those we love. There is no reason for the man to believe that giving the poor man money will benefit him, but the love he has for the poor man compels him to help, in a similar way that duty would (Frankfurt p. 9).However that is not to say that love and duty are the same. Duty is taught to us, by social norms and pressures, by teachers, parent and guardians. Duty is with us from our earliest understandings of the world. Duty is a system of judgement based on our morality, a concept we come to learn as we grow, not something we inherently know. Love on the other hand, is a primal...

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