Snell , R. J.
10 Articles at

R. J. Snell is an associate professor of philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern University.


Parental Rights and the Duties of Conscience

Children are no small matter. We don't simply have offspring or produce another member of the species, for children are persons endowed with intrinsic and unalienable dignity. To have a child is to become responsible for a being of incalculable value and worth.

Date posted: 2019-05-11

Persons, not Compost: How to Think About Dead Bodies

The human person is not two beings - not a body plus a soul/mind where the mind is the "real" person and the body just a possession or impediment. Neither is the human person simply matter. Instead, the human person is an ensouled body.

Date posted: 2019-02-25

New York's Take on Fundamental Rights

In recent days, news outlets have reported on the likely passage of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) in New York state. Among other changes, the RHA repeals the requirement for abortion to be performed by a licensed physician and expands access to third-trimester abortions. Additionally, the RHA would codify abortion as a "fundamental right."

Date posted: 2019-02-02

Ethics, Faith, Morality or Reason: Untangling Popular Rhetoric

We can know the basic principles of morality. In fact, we know and act on these principles all the time. Morality is not simply a matter of faith, it is knowable by any and all who wish to know.

Date posted: 2018-12-22

A Bridge to Nowhere: Fr. James Martin and the Catholic/LGBT Divide

Fr. James Martin, SJ, has attempted to build a bridge between the Catholic Church and the LGBT community, but by shirking the difficulty of confrontation, he has traded genuine encounter for a thin and generic substitute

Date posted: 2017-07-07

Intelligible Goods, Marriage, and Intellectual Conversion

Unless we ask the "what" and "why" in ethical debate, we aren't doing ethics. Debating ethics requires intellectual conversion and thus a commitment to intelligible reality.

Date posted: 2013-06-08

Reason and Compassion in the Marriage Debate

In their book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George draw our attention to the question that matters most in the marriage debate -- what marriage is -- and make a reasonable and compassionate argument for marriage as a one-man one-woman union.

Date posted: 2012-11-27

Protect the Weak and Vulnerable: The Primacy of the Life Issue

Public officials -- especially the President -- are obligated to protect the intrinsic equal dignity of all human beings, regardless not only of sex and race, but also without regard to age, size, condition of dependency, vulnerability, or the esteem of others. Abortion and embryo-destructive research are profound and lethal violations of this principle of equality to which the law (and the President) must respond.

Date posted: 2011-08-22

Sex Gone Wrong

In the latest issue of The Atlantic we learn that the world of online pornography reveals eternal truths about men and women. These aren't happy truths, and the needlessly prurient article makes them all the more miserable. ... Overcoming the normalized brutalization of women requires a faithful recovery of the traditional understanding of the marital act, for that understanding forbids those acts which alienate and use the body, consciously or not, and allows only those acts in which women and men give themselves to each other in integrated and comprehensive ways. One might even say that the tradition teaches how to make love rather than merely to attain a degraded and brutalizing pleasure.

Date posted: 2011-03-21

Marriage and the Law of Tradition

Custom and tradition, far from being necessarily irrational, are often the vehicles of guiding and binding reason.

Date posted: 2010-11-09