“One of the attractions of the UU approach to religion and life is caught in the assertion that divinity and spirit are to be found not through blind faith but through finding and sending down roots to the deepest part of one’s unique self. As is true in botany, those roots spread out into the wider community and can nourish us and give us a healthy life. How do we know when we are living in the best place for those roots to grow? In so much as we do indeed “grow a soul” we should consider carefully the garden in which that soul grows.” – Bob Lane
Long before I studied philosophy my father taught me a profound lesson about speech. He was a proponent of the old observation that one should “say what you mean and mean what you say”. One day as he left for work he asked me, a boy of six, to pick up some trash from the back yard. “I will, Daddy!” said I with enthusiasm.
Upon returning that evening he asked if I had completed my chore. Having completely forgotten about my promise, I nevertheless responded “Oh, yes, Daddy!” not even considering that he would have seen the back yard when he drove his pickup into the back.
“Good boy,” he said. “go get your piggy bank and I will pay you for your work.” I got the piggy bank, sat on his lap, and he dropped two nickels into the bank. Each one seemed to shout “LIAR” as it landed in the ceramic pig.
I ran outside and did the cleanup I was supposed to have done during the day. Those coins dropping into that bank taught me that speech matters.
Manon Garcia, We Are Not Born Submissive: How Patriarchy Shapes Women’s Lives, Princeton University Press, 2021, 234pp., $22.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780691223209.
Reviewed by Ellie Anderson, Pomona College Five years after the climax of #metoo, a surprising development is afoot: women’s submission is trending. The tradwife movement in Britain and the Christian US celebrates housewives submitting to their husbands “like it’s 1959,” as blogger Alena Kate Pettitt puts it. In a more ironic vein, TikTok videos about smooth-brained bimbo feminism encourage young women to give in to the objectification that society inevitably places on them. In such a landscape, the question arises: Why do so many women consent to their own submission? This is precisely the question guiding Manon Garcia’s book. Garcia’s answer is that femininity is itself…
“At its best, McPherson’s book calls us to recognize the importance of an objective view of the good, one that deserves our recognition and respect and that imposes limits on the ways in which we navigate the world. As such, it is a contribution to an important strand of ethical thought.”
Paul Noordhof, A Variety of Causes, Oxford University Press, 2020, 574pp., $110.00 (hbk), ISBN: 9780199251469.
Reviewed by J. Dmitri Gallow, Dianoia Institute of Philosophy Paul Noordhof’s book presents and defends a counterfactual theory of causation. It is incredibly detailed; Noordhof dots every possible ‘i’ and crosses every possible ‘t’. The book contains an extended discussion of Humean supervenience, dives deep into the theory of counterfactuals and the metaphysics of events which the theory presupposes, contains detailed discussion of so-called ‘negative’ causation, causal processes, the non-symmetry of causation, the relationship between causation and agency, causation and laws of nature, the metaphysics of chance, and much else—more than I can concisely list in this review. Readers interested in any of these topics will find stimulating discussion…