Prof Carrie Jenkins asks, ‘What Love Is And What It Could Be’

UBC Arts One/Philosophy Department Professor Carrie Jenkins has written a book entitled, ‘What Love Is Or What It Could Be’ and is embarking on a multi-year ‘Metaphysics of Love’ project.



A description of the book from Professor Jenkins’ website:

“What Love Is And What It Could Be explores different disciplinary perspectives on love, in search of the bigger picture. It presents a “dual-nature” theory: romantic love is simultaneously both a biological phenomenon and a social construct.

The deep motivation behind this work is that we have a collective responsibility to figure out romantic love. It is a formidable and potentially dangerous force, its power underwritten by its twin footholds in our biological natures and in our most treasured social practices. Often we pretend that it is incomprehensible and out of control, but this is a way of abdicating our responsibility to understand love and fix it when it’s broken.

What Love Is And What It Could Be explains that romantic love is currently broken in multiple interlocking ways, but also that we can change this status quo. Once we understand what love is, we will be able to take control of what it could be.”


There is an in-depth review of the book by Skye C. Cleary in the Los Angeles Review of Books, January 2017.

This book is connected to the Arts One theme that Carrie teaches in, Knowledge and Power. The following texts on the reading list for that them are cited and discussed in the book at various points:
  • Plato, The Symposium
  • Sappho’s poetry
  • Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals
  • bell hooks, All About Love