What is a “family”? This question was the focus of the 2014 Neal A. Maxwell Lecture featuring James E. Faulconer. The entire lecture (with a few technical glitches) is now available on our YouTube channel.
According to Faulconer, for hundreds of years people have tried to understand the concept of family in individualistic terms: singular people joining together to comprise a particular group. Faulconer believes our minds may like this definition, but our hearts seem to resist it. This individualistic concept of family makes direct knowledge of other persons as persons impossible. It essentially reduces all love to self-love. Faulconer’s philosophical lecture draws on the work of Emmanual Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion, two recent philosophers who seek to overcome these problems. Their work offers a basis on which Faulconer suggests we can construct a philosophy of love and, therefore, a philosophy of family which is more true to Latter-day Saint desires for faithful, covenanted, love.