Home and Our Need For It

Journal of Philosophical Research 44:251-272 (2019)
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Aviezer Tucker claims that “home-searching is a basic trait of being human,” yet as a rule the concept of home has not been central in recent Anglophonic ethics. I will argue, though, that giving an important place to the concept of home should be far more common. I begin by showing that ‘home’ is a particular kind of concept, what Daniel Russell calls a model concept. I then turn to the main task of the paper, the construction of a theoretical model of ‘home,’ bringing various treatments of the concept—linguistic, literary, and social scientific—into reflective equilibrium. Security, comfort, and belonging will turn out to be key features of the model. I close by noting some ways in which the concept of home is much more important to moral theory, and especially to virtue ethics, than has generally been recognized. The title refers both to our need for home, as humans, and to our need for ‘home,’ as moral theorists.



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Christopher H. Toner
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

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