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Truth–or Consequences

Everyone has lied. Most people are uneasy about lying, but most also justify at least some of their lies. How uneasy should we be? Is there such a thing as an innocent lie? What is a lie, anyway? And what is at stake in these questions—what, exactly, is endangered if we get the answers . . . . Continue Reading »

Ludwig Wittgenstein Confesses

Along with Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein is generally considered to be one of the two greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. But as with the field of twentieth-century philosophy itself, Wittgenstein has never seemed to be a very accessible thinker to the nonspecialist. Those, it . . . . Continue Reading »

The Philosophical Crusher

Before we dismantle this imposing structure, let’s step back a moment and admire its elegant lines.” Thus Alex Tourigny, my teacher of philosophical psychology forty years ago, was wont to mark the pause before the crusher. His version of the crusher was a deadly “reduction to first . . . . Continue Reading »

David Byrne and the Curse of Lifestyle

Lately I’ve been noting an interesting linguistic phenomenon: the all-purpose word. You come across it most often in slang, especially the slang of children and adolescents. Take “narly,” for instance—a word which, in my limited acquaintance, seems capable of an almost infinite range of . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion Talk

Decoding Abortion Rhetoric: Communicating Social Changeby celeste michelle condituniversity of illinois press, 236 pages, $24.95 Students of Western thought have long understood the correlation between public discourse, conviction, and practice. Even as far back as the fifth century B.C:. Democritus . . . . Continue Reading »

“Linguistic Injustice”: An Exchange

The University of Notre Dame To: My Colleagues in the Department of TheologyFrom: James F. White On December 13, 1982, the Department made an important step in approving a motion calling upon us to avoid sex-exclusive and sex-discriminatory language. I write you because as time progresses, I find . . . . Continue Reading »

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