Protecting Identity

By JohnR |

We don’t just live in our minds.  We also don’t just live in a world with other people.  We live with the need to have the world in our mind fit with the world of other people, and the shape our life takes is determined by how these two mesh. At one level, this need […]

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We Need to Talk.

By JohnR |

There are different forms that talking can take.  We reveal that we are familiar with this when we rely on the common distinction between “small talk” and a “deep” conversation.  Sometimes, someone says “we need to have a talk,” and you know it’s serious, and other times we mockingly refer to ourselves or others as […]

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A Sensitive Matter

By JohnR |

Hurting another person is a very easy thing to do. We often think of “hurt” in terms of the pain induced by bodily injury.  This obviously is an important kind of hurt, but we should be careful to construe it rightly.  The harm is done to the body, but the hurt is a matter of […]

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On Rules and Family Life

By JohnR |

When I was in India recently, I had occasion a number of times to travel on the highway.  What was striking to me, while travelling from Chennai to Puducherry or from Delhi to Agra, was how slow highway travel was.  Despite my drivers’ constant, aggressive attempts to push through traffic, and despite their preferred speeds […]

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Gregarious and Solitary

By JohnR |

In his observation of the animal world, Aristotle noted that some animals naturally flock together, while some are naturally solitary.  The human animal, he observed, partakes of both characteristics.  We humans thrive only if it is both the case that we can be involved in groups and if we can function as independent individuals. This […]

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Friendship and The Limits of Math

By JohnR |

In his dialogue Lysis, Plato gives a nice description of a very familiar human experience.  Lysis, a young teenage boy, would like to come over to join a conversation that Socrates is having with some others, but he is too timid to do so.  When his friend Menexenus arrives, however, he feels able, in the […]

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On the Road

By JohnR |

Trimalchio, the ex-slave turned millionaire in Petronius’s Satyricon, invested all his money is some ships so that he could transport his wine to sell it in Rome, a short distance away.  Sea transport was a risky business, though, and his little fleet was wrecked and he lost it all.  Why didn’t he ship it by […]

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