Love is a very multifaceted definition that has been interpreted in countless ways. Tim Schroeder attempts to come to an ultimate conclusion asserting that love isn’t an emotion, as many people might initially believe – thus, this is a very controversial argument. Schroeder manages to support his claims quite thoroughly, making it a generally good argument altogether. However, because he is discussing such a controversial topic with copious room for variability and misinterpretation, there are some deviations and incomplete thoughts that are worth examining critically. When we’re dealing with something as subjective as love, which holds many different connotations to many different people, it’s impossible to have a perfect argument. This evaluation will begin with a broad overview of how the argument is written, followed by a step-by-step interpretation of the various premises and subconclusions, and how they support the speaker’s ultimate conclusion.
Schroeder asserts his conclusion with quite a lot of confidence, and why shouldn’t he? After all, he methodically examined several points of view, and discredited potential counter-arguments that the audience might have with substantial evidence. Nevertheless, considering his topic of argument, it might not be appropriate to hold his conclusion with such a high amount of confidence. Perhaps if he were arguing something more objective and fact-based, such as a historical occurrence or semantics, a highly confident conclusion would make more sense. However, once again, love is a so-called “touchy subject,” For the author to put forth such a confident conclusion by claiming to know what love truly is can be perceived as too lofty. It might have been worthwhile for the Schroeder to take note of the possibility for other conclusions, if only to make his own conclusion more credible and easily digestible to the target audience.
Schroeder begins his argument by highlighting a set of three beliefs people generally hold about love – that love is an emotion, people don’t have emotions when experiencing a dreamless sleep, and people don’t stop loving in their sleep. Clearly these beliefs are inconsistent with one another, and he is quick to point that out, thus displaying a good knowledge of critical thinking skills. By textbook definition, emotions are typically characterised by high states of arousal. No one is persistently undergoing said arousal, and because love does not stop based on physiological responses, love cannot be an emotion. This idea supports Schroeder’s notion that the three commonly believed concepts of love are inconsistent, and draws direct reference to his ultimate conclusion that love is not an emotion. Therefore, this is a good point. However, Schroeder doesn’t address the fact that emotions do not always manifest themselves physically – that is, someone could be feeling something quite strongly, but not show it outwardly. He uses the example of a person in a coma to illustrate his point about someone not feeling emotion, but emotions start on the inside and may not always make it to the outside, so to speak. For instance, a strict parent may act in a hardened manner towards their child, but still feel intense love and care for them. So who’s to say that a sleeping person isn’t experiencing emotions? Schroeder’s argument is a good one nonetheless, but it is important to note that his concept of emotions may be a bit too narrow. The author then proceeds to inform us of what love is not. His two main premises in the third paragraph are that loving someone doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a particular feeling in a particular context, and that asserting that love is a “special closeness” is too non-specific and ill-defined. The first premise is certainly true, and that can be backed simply by personal experience – love elicits a myriad of emotions that aren’t specific to the act of loving, such as happiness and sadness, depending on the circumstances. Indeed,...
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