In Romantic Intimacy, a subtle and cogent intervention, Nancy Yousef begins with a problematic dimension of eighteenth-century moral philosophy, attending to the dissonance between skeptical accounts of perception and confident renditions of intersubjective dynamics such as sympathy. Hoping to save sympathy from scrutiny, philosophers such as the Earl of Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith typically suspend the epistemic grounding for moral relations but thereby produce a sharp disjunction between their theories of perception and of relation, creating a productive difficulty. Furthermore, Yousef argues, by relying on the assumption that sympathy must take shape as mutuality, reciprocity, or other forms of equality and similitude—a notion that survives even in the work of Immanuel Kant, who makes of mutuality an aspirational ideal at some distance from lived relations—eighteenth-century theorists cut through the far greater complexity of those relations, which transpire...

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