Queer by Nature

By JohnR |

“Love” is not single act, such as gazing fondly at another, but is a total way of living in relation to another person that is enacted through myriad activities each of which on its own is neither a necessary condition for love nor a sufficient condition for love. Saying “I love you,” for example, does […]

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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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Memories of Immortality

By JohnR |

Miles Davis’s tune “So What,” on his 1959 recording, Kind of Blue, has clearly won the designation as a jazz “classic.”  Indeed, I could easily have written, “his classic 1959 recording, Kind of Blue,” and virtually anyone at all familiar with jazz music would unhesitatingly recognize the truth of this. The fact that this tune […]

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Perceptual Storytelling

By JohnR |

Our perception does not happen in a moment, but unfolds over time in concert with our actions. I notice the car pulling out of the parking lot, because, in the context of my cycling down the street, it draws my attention to it by the threat its emergence poses to me.  Its appearance wells up […]

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The Annunciation

By JohnR |

You can’t tell, when you look at me looking at something, what it is that I am noticing.  Even if you could list all the material features of my sensory field, you wouldn’t know whether I’m noticing the cup, or the room, or the fact that I’m in a city, or the unpleasant manner of […]

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The Law of Laws

By JohnR |

There are many essential aspects of human life that are inherently non-individual, that is, aspects of life that individuals depend upon but that no individual alone could ever define, create or maintain.  Language is one of most obvious examples of this: minimally, language must be something adopted and developed by at least two people acting […]

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A Descriptive Ethics

By JohnR |

We are constantly describing.  “I’m nervous about the interview” or “He’s such a funny guy” or “You have to pick that up.”  Our days are filled up with talking, or listening to others talk or reading what others have written, and all of these activities of language are basically matters of description. In many situations, […]

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Partners in Dialogue

By JohnR |

What I say to a close friend is quite different from what I say to a distant acquaintance or to my boss, even if I’m describing the same situation.  When I speak to a friend, I will, of course, relate parts of the story that I keep private from the others.  More than that, though, […]

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The Conversational Path

By JohnR |

I have a friend who wants to design a “cat ladder,” so her cat can freely travel between her second-floor apartment to the ground.  The problem, though, is that the same ladder that lets her cat out will also let other cats in.  This, of course, is not something unique to the cat ladder: it […]

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Making Our Way

By JohnR |

In one of my favourite passages in Plato’s Republic, Socrates says that he likes to talk with old people because “they are like men who have proceeded on a certain road that perhaps we too will have to take.”  (I.328e) There are many aspects of this remark that would be worth exploring, but I am […]

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