2018 Conference Talk
What Makes Men Men?
The Nature of a Man Is What He Is For
by J. Budziszewski
I am a little amused, because it may at first seem that Glenn Stanton and I disagree about everything. He argues that manhood is not natural; I argue that it is. However, this is not a real disagreement, because the term "natural" is used in different senses. Psychologists and sociologists generally use it to refer to what is spontaneous or comes easily for creatures of our nature. Ethical philosophers and theologians generally use it to refer to what reflects the flourishing or proper development of creatures of our nature, and that may come hard. I certainly don't think males become men easily or spontaneously. But for their own good, I do think they need to become men. So manhood is natural in my sense, even though not in Glenn Stanton's—and he and I agree about this.
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J. Budziszewski is Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, and the author of What We Can't Not Know (Spence) and Ask Me Anything (NavPress). is a professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, where he also teaches courses in the law school and the religious studies department. His books include What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide (2d ed. Ignatius, 2011), Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2017), and On the Meaning of Sex (ISI Press, 2012).
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