Science has discovered that chemicals such as Oxytocin exists in individuals who are "in love". The feeling of romantic love is attributed toward this chemical. Science currently observes that these chemicals go away after 12-18 months of a relationship. Science doesn't really have a clear conclusion as to what cause these chemicals to go into being in the first place.
Could, from a philosophical stand point, one attribute that these chemicals are released as a result of our value judgment? And that the reason why it goes away after 12-18 months is because our value judgment of the other person changes as we learn more about the other person? This means that our initial value judgment of the other person was not accurate due to lack of data (or evasion of reality) and that over time we gained more data (or could not evade any further).
This would also imply that it's possible to be in romantic love indefinitely if our value judgment of the other person from the beginning was very accurate because we paid more attention (focus) and knew what to look for (character/virtues/values).
As far as I can discern, this question does an excellent job of answering itself, even offering an important insight about cause and effect in the relation of psychological states to biochemical levels.
answered Jul 11 '12 at 01:42
Ideas for Life ♦
Love is not the same as chemical releases in the brain. Love is an emotion, not a chemical excretion. However, there is no contradiction between noting that love is a response to values, and identifying the electrical/chemical changes that occur as physical correlates of that love response.
The questioner, however, goes on to state as a fact that "Science currently observes that these chemicals go away after 12-18 months of a relationship," and to explain this fact thus: "the reason why it goes away after 12-18 months is because our value judgment of the other person changes as we learn more about the other person?"
I will assume that the questioner is right about the science: that such chemicals always occur when someone is in the heady throes of love, and that the chemicals eventual fade.
But to explain the fading chemicals as a change in value-judgment — i.e., to "falling out of love" — is to equivocate between the emotion and its chemical correlate.
Anyone who has ever been in love knows that the initial head-rush of obsession with the beloved inevitably fades. This is as it ought to be: no matter how essential your beloved is to your life and values, she is not your only value. The initial release of brain chemicals corresponds to that feeling of: "Wow! I can't believe I've met someone SO PERFECT." Eventually, though, you get used to it. It's not that you forget your partner's value — you ought to remember it, frequently — and I'll bet that every time you pause to reflect on how great she is, those scientists would measure a similar spike in "love chemicals."
There's no reason to go from the fact that a certain brain chemical falls off in the years after falling in love, to the idea that love responses are inevitably the result of "lack of data" or "evasion." What about the simple fact that life moves on, and you can't spend your whole life making goo-goo eyes at each other?
answered Jul 19 '12 at 10:59
Robert Garmong ♦