Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Velleman on Warts

Someone who loved you for your quirks would have to be a quirklover, on the way to being a fetishist... While I agree that we want to be loved warts and all, as the saying goes, I don’t think that we want to be loved for our warts. Who wants to be the object of someone’s wart-love? What we want is to be loved by someone who sees and isn’t put off by our warts, but who appreciates our true value well enough to recognize that they don’t contribute to it.

-- David Velleman, 'Love as a Moral Emotion' [PDF], p.370.



  1. Being loved for my warts is as good as anything else. if everyone loved me for warts then warts would be the same as having having a nice smile etc. And it isn't a shame to be loved for that.

    I think romantics want to be loved for a rason one does not fully understand. this allows you to say it is the "real me" that they love even though in reality all they could ever possibly love is what you show them.

    It becomes a bit of a "true love of the gaps" (like a god of the gaps) true love explains all those things you dont really understand and it sheds litle parts as they become clear and thus not magical.

  2. I sort of agree with Vellman, with a couple of quibbles.

    The first just a standard caveat that warts are relative. I currently have a crush on a girl who's rather quirky, and the oddballness that makes my co-workers think "crazy and weird" makes me think "funny and cute". On the other end, while I think my analytical mind is one of my best qualities, it frequently drove my ex-girlfriend crazy because I was forever questioning her assumptions and contradicting her in discussions and arguments. But Vellman's point can easily accomodate this by specifying that we want to be loved for what we think are our own good qualities, and not for the ones we aren't proud of.

    The second quibble is more important and concerns what Genius said above. Specifically, the line about appreciating "our true value well enough to recognize that [our warts] don't contribute to it" smacks of essentialism and is just wrong. Of course your warts contribute to your overall value -- they're just negative numbers on the metaphorical balance sheet, scratches on the proverbial paint job.

  3. do you realise your google ads now include "genital warts pictures"?
    Maybe a different example next time?

  4. and "genital warts reviews"
    I can just imagine...
    "I saw the advertisement and I thought I'd try this new brand of genital wart. as you can see it was a little smaler than the last variety but it came on much faster..."


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