We Forge the
Conditions of Love

in Linguistic Luck: Essays in Anti-Luck Semantics

eds. Carlos Montemayor & Abrol Fairweather, OUP


Georgi Gardiner

University of Tennessee

... Those effects matter.


Selected Media

"Are you really in love? How expanding your love lexicon can change your relationships and how you see yourself" (link) 

Podcast Episode (Link)

Video on the Power of "Love"

Talk on Love and Limerence (Link)

See the Public Philosophy page for all media coverage

Topics of Particular Interest.

a.) For non-philosophers:

b.) For philosophers:

i.) Maker’s knowledge (§ 3).

ii.) Epistemic luck (§ 8).

iii.) Transformative experience (§ 12).

Key Terms: 

Love limerence infatuation romantic attraction

Concepts transformative conceptual shifts linguistic luck conceptual engineering

Maker’s knowledge attention self-interpretation

Polyamory the gay agenda the social construction of sexuality 

“I will think of men as graceful,
so my son can think of them as beautiful,
so his son can fall in love with them.”

Core Ideas

A. The Power of Self-Ascriptions of Love

o   They can even be self-fulfilling. 


B. Permissive Flexibility

o   Example: In love with a celebrity.

o   This suggests potential for conceptually engineering emotions, using language.

C. The Constraints of Thinking Straight

o   In some cases, person can make herself straight or queer, owing to her belief that she is. 


D. Conceptual Tourism

o   Example: Protect against pick up artist's negging. 

The Gay Agenda
Sections 6&7

E. It is Better if More People are Queer

o What matters about a person? We should be attracted to character, not physical shape.

o Being attracted to character leads to more sustainable relationships and is more inclusionary. 

o It is biased to exclude people from consideration based on gender. (Compare to only having friends of one gender.)  

o If more people are queer, it is easier to satisfy preferences and find sympatico lovers. 

o Diversity of experience and opportunities to learn.

o Epistemic benefits of diversity for society.

o Improves society's signalling conventions for romantic interest.


F. Cunning Linguistics


G. Curious or Queer?

o “Bi-curious” associations: A temporary phase, behaviour-based, public kissing, not “full sex”, default of heterosexuality; seen as a way of being straight.

o “Queer” associations: Emotional investment, relationship-building intimacy, stable orientation, not a set of mere actions.

Sections 10, 11, & 12



How does learning about limerence change your conception of love?


Three Examples:

(Note that I don’t endorse these claims; they are merely illustrations.)


i. Polyamory about Love


ii. Is Love Good?


iii. Addiction, Rumination, and the Unmet Need


Tripartite Clustering of Limerence Kinds.

o Romantic limerence, stemming from romantic unmet needs.

o Limerence for authority figures (bosses, teachers, virtuosos), from unmet needs for approval.

o Alterous limerence, from the unmet need for emotional processing.

Teaching Note

Also in the Neighbourhood

Holiday romance, puppy love, being in love with a celebrity, squish, alterous attraction, “holibae”, “zucchinis” in “queerplatonic relationships”, erotic friendships, companionate love, comet relationship, “eintagsleibe”, “carrying a torch”, yandere, trauma bonds, Stockholm syndrome…