Agencies of Scale

By JohnR |

When Augustine came to Rome from his home in North Africa just before 400 A.D., he was coming to the cultural centre of that part of the world, rather as one trying to “make it” might travel now from a small mid-western town to New York City. But whereas New York has been a major […]

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Learning for a Change

By JohnR |

Our everyday perceptual life is a back and forth exchange with the environment that is characterized by, among other things, a constant novelty in our awareness—I find out, through perception, that a man is arguing with his daughter in that house, but I didn’t know that until I came upon the scene and heard them […]

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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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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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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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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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Calculating Your Earnings

By JohnR |

We often have a sense of pride in a product that we have made, and the effort we put into forming the thing gives us a sense of ownership. After years of practice with the soccer ball and the playing field, I feel on the “inside” of soccer, I feel that soccer is “my thing.”  […]

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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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