Some people criticizing aspects of the argument of last week’s post, guest-posted at Catallaxy Files, don’t seem to appreciate the flow of the argument re marriage. Let me outline it.
Firstly, the argument begins with an attempt to distinguish marriage from other types of relationship by reference to their orientations. There are many types of relationship in any society (i.e. transactional, civil, enterprise, friendship, familial, tribal, and so on) and the process of distinguishing involves comparing and contrasting each type in order to find what orientation or set of orientations each has that differentiates each from the other. So, the argument begins but does not end with marriage as we have found it historically – thus, the argument is not from tradition. As I’ve said, marriage is distinguishable from other relationships we might find in a society by its orientation towards (a) unifying the persons and (b) the children that may arise therein from such a relationship. Again, all this does is distinguish marriage as marriage from friendship (where each is orientated toward the good of the other) as friendship, and so on.