Teaching “Against Marriage," or, "But, Professor, marriage isn't a contract!"

In Stephen Scales, Adam Potthast & Linda Oravecz (eds.), The Ethics of the Family. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 121-132 (2010)
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In this contribution, I advocate diminishing the vision of marriage as an isolated and perfectly free choice between two individuals in love, in order to unseat the extent to which students resist the view that marriage is, among other things, a social contract. I summarize views of Immanuel Kant and Claudia Card, then describe my class presentation of the social significance of marriage. I conclude that students at an individualistic and self-creating point in their lives can be under-appreciative of what their public avowals mean to others, and marriage, in one sense, is indeed public.
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