fact opinion

The Philosopher’s Magazine has finally posted my piece on the fact/opinion distinction.

Why worry about the fact/opinion distinction? One reason is that precise thinking is valuable for its own sake. But there’s another, more pragmatic reason. Despite its unclear meaning, the claim “That’s just your opinion” has a clear use: It is a conversation-stopper. It’s a way of diminishing a claim, reducing it to a mere matter of taste which lies beyond dispute.

Read the full article here.

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Photo Credit: Doug Coombe

Photo Credit: Doug Coombe

There’s a nice profile of John at the Urban Innovation Exchange:

John Corvino is a refreshing antidote to the screaminess on one of the central issues of our times – marriage equality. It befits his work as a philosophy professor at Wayne State University; as such, he needs to think deeply about the very nature of morality and why we behave the way we do. It also befits his life; he’s an out gay man who has been with his partner, Mark, for 13 years.

Read the full profile here.

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John replies to Michael Hannon’s startling response to “Thinking Straight” at Commonweal:

You don’t have to be a “libertine” to recognize that what the young boy is experiencing is not just a really, really, really strong desire for friendship. More important, you don’t have to be a libertine to acknowledge that willful blindness to what the boy is actually experiencing can do serious, lasting damage.

Read full article here.

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At Commonweal, John explains how a little queer theory (misunderstood and misapplied) can be a dangerous thing:

What social conservatives want is nothing less than to dismantle the very vocabulary by which we express and realize our inchoate longings for intimacy. They want to push us back to a time when homosexuality was not merely the “love that dare not speak its name,” but the love that could not speak it. They want to restore a regime where the boy with the funny feeling might—if he’s lucky—grow up to have a good-enough heterosexual marriage, but he might just as easily grow up to have a lonely life of furtive, dangerous same-sex encounters.

Read the full article here. Also check out Hannon’s reply and John’s rejoinder.

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John New Student Convo

Bridge Magazine just posted a nice profile of John’s work.

Corvino is emerging as a new public face of gay America, well-suited for an era of increasing acceptance by the dominant culture – calm, polite, respectful, telegenic. In an era when cable television and the Internet reward snark and sarcasm, he meets the opposition on their own turf and engages in argument without insult.

Read the full story here.

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Corvino meme

In a New York Times “Room for Debate” discussion on plural marriage, John rebuts the slippery slope:

Polygamy raises a number of public-policy concerns that same-sex marriage does not. That said, the gay-rights movement has bolstered the polygamist-rights movement in one key way: by insisting that finding a practice weird or icky or religiously anathema is not sufficient reason to make it illegal.

Read his full post, and watch the accompanying video, here.

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Jen loveseat


UPDATE 11/13/2014: Yesterday Jen had a three-hour surgery taking a skin graft from her thigh to reconstruct the tissue in her mouth; this was the planned follow-up after the successful (second) bone graft in January. The surgery went well, and the underlying bone looks healthy. Jen is uncomfortable but in good spirits. She hopes to be out of the hospital by Saturday. The next step would be the reconstruction of her teeth. Unfortunately, her fund is once again nearly depleted, and the posts and teeth alone will cost over $10,000 out of pocket. We are re-opening her fund to help defray her expenses. Thank you for your support. (Prior updates below.)

Dear Friends,

I am writing to ask a favor on behalf of my beloved sister, Jennifer. (That’s us above, circa 1980 and today.)

In 1999, my sister was the victim of a horrible act of violence. Late one night as she was entering her car, she was approached by an unknown assailant. As she quickly rolled up her window, he pulled a gun and shot her at close range. The bullet pierced her neck and shattered her jaw, coming within millimeters of her spine, her windpipe, and her carotid arteries. Amazingly, she managed to step on the gas and drive for a few blocks before collapsing. A stranger found her and called an ambulance, which rushed her to the hospital where doctors saved her life. Her assailant was never caught.

Over the next several months Jennifer underwent a series of reconstructive surgeries. The lack of an exit wound meant that she was spared major facial disfigurement; unfortunately, it also meant that the fragmented bullet would remain in her for years. Her jaw was wired shut for two months, and she lost all of her lower front teeth. Needless to say, the various physical challenges she has endured have served as a constant reminder of the emotional trauma of being shot.

Since the shooting, Jennifer has had over a dozen surgeries to stabilize her jaw, including bone grafts from both hips as well as multiple cadaver grafts. The doctors have done amazing work, but the early reconstructive surgery has gradually deteriorated. Last February, they were finally able to remove the largest bullet fragment, which was causing ongoing problems.

Here is why I am writing to you:

In order to achieve a stable long-term solution, the doctors will soon remove part of Jennifer’s fibula (the smaller calf bone) and do a vascularized graft to re-build her jaw. The surgery will be performed by three surgeons and take approximately five hours; it will require at least a three-day hospital stay. Later, the doctors will be able to provide her with permanent teeth implants.

Unfortunately, Jennifer’s Crime Victims fund is nearly depleted, and she faces roughly $20,000 in expenses not covered by insurance. (Part of the problem is that some of the procedures, including the restoration of her teeth and the reshaping of her chin, are deemed “cosmetic”; she also has a rather stingy insurance plan.) I am therefore reaching out to my friends and their networks to ask for support. Would you consider giving $25, $100, or whatever you are able, to help Jennifer get through her remaining surgeries and put this ordeal behind her? Every little bit would help. I’d also appreciate it if you’d share this message with your networks.

(Any funds collected will go toward relieving medical expenses; if there are somehow excess funds, they will be donated to the Crime Victims organization that has supported her over the years.)

Jennifer is my only sibling. We have always been close. Her strength in the face of adversity is inspiring, and I want to do anything I can to relieve her burden. Thanks for your consideration.

Warm regards,

John Corvino

Please click below to donate:

UPDATE 3/13/2014: Jen has been home from the hospital for six weeks and is healing well. The second bone graft to her jaw was successful, and her legs are healing nicely too. She has finally had her IV line removed, and last week she was even able to get on an elliptical machine. She is still undergoing physical therapy and is home from work, but looks forward to returning soon. Again, THANK YOU for all the support.

PRIOR UPDATE 1/16/2014: I regret to report that Jen’s bone graft has failed, due to a problem with how the artery was attached.  After consultation with various doctors, it appears as if the best option is to re-do the procedure, this time taking the fibula from her other leg and using what doctors have learned since the Jan. 3 surgery to increase the likelihood of a better outcome. Jennifer has been moved back to ICU and her surgery is scheduled for Monday. An additional specialist is being brought on to the case.

Jennifer is concerned about the fact that she will need to extend her medical leave from work and will also need additional care during recovery. (She had learned to walk pretty well with crutches, but while BOTH legs are healing, it’s going to be more complicated. She’s also going to require IV antibiotics for the next six weeks.) I’m re-opening her fund today, with the amendment that any new funds collected may be used for income loss, child care, home nursing care, and other non-medical expenses arising from the surgeries.

Needless to say, we are all feeling rather emotionally drained (Jennifer especially!), but we are deeply moved by the kind expressions of concern and support throughout this ordeal. Thank you.

PRIOR UPDATE 1/6/2014: We have reached our $20,000 goal. Thank you so much for your generosity and good wishes. Jen’s surgery (vascularized fibula graft) took place on January 3; today her doctor told her that she could move from the Intermediate Care Unit to a regular room, and also start getting out of bed. She’s dealing with some pain but making good progress.


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