Let us say, that I am in love. Is this in virtue of my own desire to want to love? Or my genuine non-self-referential care for another?
Why does it have to be one or the other? Why not both? Okay, maybe we could concede something like that, however, I think there is a genuine problem where these come apart.
Imagine that there is a person, who cares for his dying wife. This person tends to her, worries about her when she is not around, would do anything for her comfort, and constantly assuring her, and considering her wants, needs, and their importance of a shared bond,
I’m going to throw a thought here now. What if there were two kinds of mindsets realised in the same activity:
The self-interested – where one tends to care about another, they do so to fulfill their own desire; to be the kind of person who is caring or heroic, daring and compassionate.
The genuine lover – where one cares about another and their feelings of wellbeing depend on the other. It is imperative that it is realised that caring for another, and the other’s wellbeing is a necessary condition for one’s happiness and consolation. The dependence relation is not clearly egoistic, however, but is a recognition of their inherent worth (this is purposely undefined and question-begging).
Michael tells me that I am cutting the situation in a way that shouldn’t be cut (Michael say that we are all trivially egoist about everything, but this isn’t a bad thing…). I am, as a ceteris paribus point, am not going to address this.
What is my point here? As the experience itself; when I love another, how is it that I can tell that I am acting out of duty and the inherent worth of another, or acting out of the ends of pursuing my own self-satisfaction through another? How can we tell if we are genuinely acting from love? Away from selfish automatons…
p.s. I consider this thought in compliment to paper I once ready by Michael Smith (A Humean Theory of Motivation): where he poses this thought: fhow is it phenomenologically secure that we are not confabulating about the reasons for our motivation? – the example given was a counterfactual case where a man bought a newspaper from a certain stand only because a mirror was there; if the mirror were not there, the man would eventually go to another stand…I don’t think this thought applies to the situation I presented.