Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Medicalization of Love and Narrow and Broad Conceptions of Human Well-Being


Would a “medicalization” of love be a “good” or “bad” form of medicalization? In discussing this question, Earp, Sandberg, and Savulescu primarily focus on the potential positive and negative consequences of turning love into a medical issue. But it can also be asked whether there is something intrinsically regrettable about medicalizing love. It is argued here that the medicalization of love can be seen as an “evaluative category mistake”: it treats a core human value (love) as if it were mainly a means to other ends (viz. physical health and hedonic well-being). It is also argued that Earp et al’s closing argument (that a scientific perspective on love actually adds more value to love) can be seen as involving another evaluative category mistake: it treats an object of desire and practical interest (namely, love) as if it mainly were an object of scientific contemplation and theoretical interest. It is concluded that, to relate love to health and well-being in a more satisfying way, we should construe the latter two in broader ways, whereby love is itself a component or element of human flourishing.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J Savulescu , A Sandberg . Neuroenhancement of love and marriage. Neuroethics 2008;1(1):3144.

I Persson , J Savulescu . Unfit for the Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2012, at 120.

A Sen . Capability and well-being. In: M Nussbaum , A Sen , eds. The Quality of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1993.

M Nussbaum . Creating Capabilities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2011.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 15 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 137 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.