The End of an Era

With a smile on her face, I recently saw a bright young woman go straight to Professor David Solomon and hug him. I’ve seen this happen with many of Professor Solomon’s former students. They return to campus and light up when they see him, almost as if they are seeing their father after a long absence.

When I entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2009, not much time passed before I sat in his office with a couple of other freshmen and had a conversation about how we wanted to write tracts about what it means to be a Catholic university. I think starry-eyed students like us helped Professor Solomon to be ever-creative in his efforts to promote Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, from founding the Center for Ethics and Culture to beginning the Fund to Protect Human Life. I wonder if students have been doing this since he joined Notre Dame’s philosophy faculty in 1968. Continue reading “The End of an Era”

Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues.

“It is most often to others that we owe our survival, let alone our flourishing.” McIntyre opens by drawing attention to human vulnerability to affliction, such as illness, and the corresponding dependence on others for protection and sustenance, especially in childhood and old age. These facts, MacIntyre argues, “are so evidently of singular importance that it might seem that no account of the human condition whose authors hoped to achieve credibility could avoid giving them a central place.” “The disabled” are not “a separate class”, but “ourselves as we have been, sometimes are now and may well be in the future.” Continue reading “Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality”

Summary: Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution, Introduction

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from On Revolution.

Arendt begins by stating that wars and revolutions have determined the face of the twentieth century, and, as opposed to the ideologies defining the twentieth century, war and revolution constitute the 20th century’s “two central political issues.” She states that the two have “outlived all their ideological justifications”, and that the only cause left is that of “freedom versus tyranny.” Continue reading “Summary: Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution, Introduction”

Why Look at Porn?

Notre Dame students look at porn. It’s just a fact. In 2013, I conducted a very informal survey of more than 400 Notre Dame students on pornography use. Sixty-three percent of men and 11 percent of women admitted to viewing porn while on campus.

I don’t know entirely what to do with this fact. I don’t like pornography. I agree with Timothy Bradley and Hailey Vrdolyak’s recent claim that “pornography use erodes our ability to love real persons.” And yet, the lack of “real persons” is precisely what makes pornography so attractive. Continue reading “Why Look at Porn?”

The Pain of Parting

Michelangelo began sculpting the Pietá when he was about 23 years old, about a year older than most of the students who will soon graduate from Notre Dame. His Pietá was a novel piece among Italian art representing Our Lady. The artistic tradition had previously maintained a Mary who stood strong at the foot of the cross and who neither trembled nor wept upon her Son’s death. This tradition had stressed a kind of devotion to God that neither swayed nor sorrowed at times of loss or pain.  Continue reading “The Pain of Parting”

Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School

Coming to law school has made me particularly glad that I decided to major in philosophy. In many ways, I’ve found many of the ideas I encountered as an undergraduate to be foundational to the way I approach the law. I could make a pretty long list of books that I think every student should study (not just “read,” but “study”) before coming to law school, but here are some texts that I think are particularly important:  Continue reading “Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School”

The Great Books at Notre Dame

In November 2010, I presented a paper for the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture’s annual Fall Conference. After several requests, I have reproduced this paper below, with some minimal edits and revisions. Regarding discussions of my experiences in the Program, it must be noted that I only took three of the required classes. My personal experience in the Program was quite minimal. Continue reading “The Great Books at Notre Dame”

“The Gay Issue”: Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction

This post is the fourth post in a series on understanding “same-sex-attraction.” The three previous posts were:

One very complex concept that I have discussed is the idea of “attraction.” Defining and understanding the idea of attraction can be very difficult. What does it mean for a person to be “attracted” to another? What does this attraction consist of? What are its limits? By now, it should be obvious that when I use the words “same-sex-attraction,” I am using them somewhat differently from how most people use them. Most people use the words “same-sex-attraction” as the Catholic Church defines homosexuality, “relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.” In particular, they understand same-sex-attraction as a desire for sexual pleasure with or from someone of the same sex. For these people, same-sex-attraction may also be called same-sex-lust. If this is the proper understanding of same-sex-attraction, then same-sex-attraction is intrinsically disordered. Continue reading ““The Gay Issue”: Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction”