The Metaphysics of the Bathroom

The Metaphysics of the Bathroom

[It’s not about potty-training]

Phil Lawler
Quick Hits

Robert Reilly can write with impressive authority on a variety of topics. He is the author of what might be the best currently available books on radical Islam (“The Closing of the Muslim Mind”), modern music (“Surprised by Beauty”), and the campaign for acceptance of homosexuality (“Making Gay Okay”). He returns to the debates on human sexuality with a powerful essay for Catholic World Report on The Metaphysics of the Bathroom. Reflecting on the notion that individuals should make their own decisions about their gender identity, Reilly traces that argument back to Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and their idea that man’s great challenge lies in “somehow creating his own essence.” (One recalls the infamous line of Justice Kennedy, in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”) There is no such thing as human nature, according to this view. Reilly observed: “However, if we have no nature, there are also no grounds left upon which to say that we should not turn ourselves into monsters, so long as we ‘self-identify’ as ones.”

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One comment on “The Metaphysics of the Bathroom

  1. Reilly traces that argument back to Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

    And I thought studying French existentialism was to help you pick up chicks.

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