Lecture 13: Mediated Affections – Love in the Time of Tinder

This lecture focuses on the Pettman article, and his philosophy on love


Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Complicated the idea of love



Pettman’s argument:

  • Considers relationship between human affect and digital products from a philosophical perspective
  • Pettman is trying to look at whether or not people are falling in love with avatars, and what that might mean for society and our perspective of love ?
  • He sets his theoretical scene on the first page, when he writes:
    • A massive contradiction second of his abstract
      • But it is understood that this is not the same kind of love that we would have for our lover or spouse

Pettman’s Concerns:

  • Can we love in the non-real
  • If we can, what does that meaning for our status as beings?
  • How we might study this phenomenon:
    • What does love actually mean?
    • Is the notion of love as solely human, based off of are own interpretations which has now become the norm is society as it has been passed down through generations. Thus can love extend being the realm of the human perception/expectation?
    • Select our focus
    • Build the system
    • Define our terms
    • Study the interoperation of our terms
      • What are the properties of these emotional response


What is love:

  • Page 202: “love is a privileged, semi-flexible, semi-coherent, ingenious and intri


How does love work:

  • in these love routines, he argues “those shared cultural rituals surrounding courtship (which nevertheless feel so personal and private), we follow a kind of hyper-textual script, which is being both reconfigured and maintained by each generation, according to the different social and economic conditions from which they were spawned” (192)
    • I love you is a script, which has certain routines that are followed in the act and response of the individual who has just been subject to this conceptual behaviour of love


Building from Pettman’s argument:

  • I want to pick up this notion of culture reconfiguration and maintenance of the love routine, and think about how technology has fundamentally changed the cultural routines of love
  • What was dating scene 100 years ago?
    • letter
  • What is dating scene today?
    • The way in which we constructed are ontology of what love once was, has really been built up from an offline to a online scene in which are conception of love has been integrated online through are interactions


Cyber Love:

  • He enhances this point about love routines by referring to Niklas Luhmann, who contends that “all sex is cybersex, since it is the result of pre-programed communication subroutines”


What is Loveable?:


Pettman’s Proposal:

  • Recall his argument: to love is to be
  • I love, therefore I am
  • Pettman is saying that he knows that he is, cause he loves something
    • You are either something or nothin
    • A being or a nothing
  • If you can love something you are a being
  • No being without the act of loving


From this argument, several questions arise:ENGL 295 lecture 13

Premises and Question:

  • In sum, Pettman is describing an enhanced version of the Turing Test, in which “the decision loveable/unlovable takes precedence over human/machine” (192)



Chat Bots:

  • When we engage on tinder we are just chatting and it is actually hard to transcend into the emotional and physical realm


Virtual Partners:

  • Expressing love to a virtual AI


What is love?:

  • Is love a transcendent quality of cybernetic program?
  • In any case love must be communicated as information, but what is the medium of it’s transmission? How does the medium shape the message?
    • Ontological – by nature
    • Phenomenological –
  • Page 202 to finalize his point


Dimensions of Affection:

  • Love exists as the combination of experiences across various media
    • Page 201
  • Would media convergence amplify or limit love?
    • Love between whom?
    • Love in what capacity?

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