by The Biola Anscombe Society Officer Team
Is romantic love possible without good will? In our fast-paced culture where people can receive instant services and goods, for many young people one of the last things they think about is what romantic love really is about. What does it mean to have a flourishing romantic love?
The Biola Anscombe Society held their second big event on March 15th, 2016 at Biola University. Our invited speaker was Alexander Pruss, professor of philosophy at Baylor University. Professor Pruss’ talk was entitled, Philosophical Foundations of Sexual Ethics: One Flesh, One Body, and Romantic Love. Pruss argued that all love has three virtues: appreciation, good will, and a striving for union. Here’s why: without appreciation, one partner sets themselves up for superiority; if there is a desire for union but no appreciation, then one partner degrades the other; and if there is a pursuit of the good for someone but still no appreciation, then one partner is a “fan and not a lover.”
Pruss’ talk centered on the importance of understanding the relationship that must exist between appreciation, goodwill, and the desire for union in order for romantic love to be possible. For Pruss, if there is a desire for union but no good will, that is, if there is no pursuit of another’s good, then all we really are is selfish because we just want the other person for our own benefit. For Pruss, romantic love “strives for sexual union,” because sex “is the most thorough way for two people to voluntarily and equally unite.” In a society that seemingly values sexual satisfaction without commitment over genuine romantic love, Pruss’ talk is definitely a much needed one.
To have a flourishing romantic love, we need appreciation, good will, and a striving for union.