"[H]er vulnerable voice is charming and relatable."
"This is a remarkable book, philosophically rich but also personal in a way that is rare ... a fascinating multidisciplinary exploration, drawing from science, history, philosophy, and politics. It's highly accessible to any reader, yet it also makes important original philosophical points—an extraordinary combination. It's a great introduction not just to its topic, but to what philosophy can be at its finest: rigorously argued and yet deeply relevant to the most important issues in our lives."
—Jennifer M. Saul, Professor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield
"[R]equired reading ... Equally important to its subject matter, the book is a master class in how to think and why. Jenkins researches, questions, unpacks, considers, and examines. A philosophy professor, Jenkins uses her readable book to advocate for thinking both critically and in great depth as a form of self-protection and self-advocacy."
—Booklist, starred review
Based on work from the Metaphysics of Love Project, this book unpicks the conceptual, ideological, and metaphysical tangles that get in the way of understanding what love is.
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.
"This book is an invitation to think for yourself ... Carrie Jenkins writes with great clarity and openness about a concept that matters to us all."
—Nigel Warburton, author of A Little History of Philosophy
"Jenkins gently but thoroughly strips away any preconceived notions of romantic love and instead offers the promise of a broader, more inclusive and, yes, more loving version of love."
—Vicki Larson, journalist and co-author of The New I Do
"Anyone feeling disenchanted or discomforted by the itchy constraints of traditional, heteronormative, monogamous, pair-bonded, procreative, romantic love will be well-served to read Jenkins’ accessible and incisive treatise on what love is. Within her argumentation is a well-placed critique of the misogyny and heterosexism woven throughout traditional philosophical and scientific discourse on love. Through a feminist lens, she studies these biases and reveals their links to contemporary beliefs about love and relationships ... Hers is a readable, entertaining, and poignant commentary on the current state of thinking, sure to ignite passionate conversation while working to dissolve the artificial boundaries limiting our experience of love."
—Meredith L. Chivers, Associate Professor of Psychology, Queen's University