Think about the last time a person told you that he or she was going to do some networking. Did you feel slightly repulsed? A little wary?

To most, the term “networking” means using other people to get what we want. But moral philosophies, religious traditions, and social conventions tell us not to treat people as means to our ends. Recall, for example, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s second categorical imperative, which advises “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own...

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