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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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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Generosity and Critique

By JohnR |

In North America, we commonly buy gifts for our close friends and associates at Christmas and on birthdays, and anticipate in return that a similar group will send gifts our way at the appropriate times.  We can feel it, probably as a slight, when we do not receive a gift from a close friend, and […]

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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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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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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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Loyalty and Critique

By JohnR |

The Buddha “went forth from home to homelessness,” leaving his family behind as he followed his sense that he needed to learn something more, something that could only be found by launching out on his own.  Their love for young Siddhattha Gotama led his family to desire that he stay: they loved who he already […]

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