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Alternative Title

Ameliorating romantic jealousy through compersion

Publication Date


First Advisor

Eric Snyder

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Jealousy, Philosophy of emotion, Amerlioration, Haslanger, Envy, Compersion, Constructivism, Ameliorative project, Mononormativity, Norms, Conceptual engineering


There appears to be a strong cultural notion that experiences of jealousy are an irrevocable part of our experience of romantic love, but should we be tempted to accept this? Past philosophical discussions of jealousy have primarily focused on distinguishing this emotion from envy, with many accounts claiming that jealousy necessary involves a focus on a desire for the preeminent possession of some good. The following thesis questions whether such a jealousy really should be held as an essential component of our romantic experiences, employing an extension of Sally Haslanger’s ameliorative framework in analyzing this romantic jealousy concept. The subsequent account reveals that this concept is closely linked to certain ideological commitments supporting evaluations of jealousy as positive indicator of romantic interest and the idea that romantic love should be exclusive (i.e. limited to two people). The account produced by the ameliorative targeting of ROMANTIC JEALOUSY ultimately reveals its connections to a larger romantic jealousy paradigm, helping to enable improved theorizing on the role we allow such an emotion to play in our romantic lives. By introducing an alternative jealousy concept which more closely resembles compersion (an emotion concept popularized by the polyamorous community), the current project takes the ameliorative framework one step furthering in asking whether romantic love should settle for a jealousy concept focused on exclusive possession.


©2019 Maryellen Stohlman-Vanderveen. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




69 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-69)