, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 657–672

Living Dogma and Marriage


DOI: 10.1007/s11406-011-9320-y

Cite this article as:
McFall, M.T. Philosophia (2011) 39: 657. doi:10.1007/s11406-011-9320-y


The decision to get married, as well as choosing whom to marry, is of the utmost importance to most people. This decision consists of many amoral considerations, but an ethical relationship arises when a promise is made, especially a vow that binds for a lifetime and affects oneself, one’s spouse, one’s children, and society. This essay provides an account of ideal romantic marriage, arguing that John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty provides an excellent foundation for constructing such an account. Neither dead dogma nor living truth is a healthy model for marriage, so a hybrid model of marriage, living dogma, is developed. The importance of the marital vow becomes apparent as the living dogma account is revealed, and this examination yields a model for how to decide when and whom to marry.


DutiesVowsLoveMarriagePractical rationality

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA