Social Metaphysics in Action

 Posted by on 29 October 2005 at 11:45 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 292005

This Dear Abby is such a lovely example of social metaphysics that I couldn’t pass it over:


I have been married to “Grant” for eight years. Soon after our marriage I learned he was a compulsive liar.

Grant told me while we were dating that he had a sister. I later learned the woman was a friend. He said he was divorced from his second wife when we met. They weren’t divorced until one month before our wedding, something I discovered only when I found his divorce papers.

Grant’s first wife swears they are still married. He says they’re divorced, but he lost the divorce papers.

A year ago, I found out my husband was never in the Marines like he said, and after eight years of believing he had a BA in business, I just learned he dropped out of college after his freshman year.

I have just about had it with his constant lying. He has also cheated on me. I want a divorce, but I don’t want to look like a failure to my family and friends. Grant is begging me to stay. He promises he’ll change, but I have heard that all before. What should I do?


This woman has every reason in the world to leave her husband. She knows that he’s a compulsive liar. She knows that he’s unfaithful. She knows that his promises to change are meaningless. She even rightly suspects that he might still be married to his first wife. Still, she’s not sure what to do. Why not? Because she doesn’t “want to look like a failure to her family and friends.” Her knowledge that her supposed marriage actually is a failure incapable of improvement isn’t all that important to her, not when weighed against the possibility that others might think ill of her. (Of course, they’d likely think even worse of her for staying for such reasons, but that’s just more awful social metaphysics.) In other words: “Facts schmacts! Who cares about my own life and happiness when the opinions of others are at stake!”

Abby’s advice is good on the proper plan of action, despite yielding too much to her social metaphysics in speaking of “solv[ing] your problem”:

DEAR WIFE: Consult a lawyer. Tell him or her exactly what you have told me. Because your husband misrepresented himself before your marriage, you may have grounds for an annulment. Your attorney should also check to see if there is any record of his first divorce, because if there isn’t one, you and Grant are not married, which solves your problem. Cross your fingers.

This woman needs some small committment to the facts of reality, not luck!

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