Ethics and Sex

Ethics and Sex

Ethics and Sex

Ethics and Sex

Synopsis

This systematic study of the nature and moral significance of human sexuality explores in detail the major issues regarding sexual morality. Divided into two main parts, Part One presents a critical analysis of the key conceptions of human sexuality, including:* the view of sex as bound up with procreation and marriage* the romantic approach to sex* the understanding of sex as body language* the hedonist or ¿¿~plain¿¿" sex view - the traditional distinction between natural and unnatural sex, and the notion of sexual perversion.Part Two discusses the most pertinent issues in sexual morality, such as monogamy, adultery, prostitution, rape, homosexuality, paedophilia and sexual harassment.In this stimulating and often controversial book, the author argues for a plainer view of sex and demonstrates that many of the prohibitions that make up conventional sexual morality cannot withstand critical scrutiny and should therefore be rejected. He claims that there are no sexual ethics, since sex has no particular moral significance.

Excerpt

This book discusses a number of questions pertaining to human sexuality. Human sexuality gives rise to many interesting and important questions in several areas. The book will not deal with those that come up in sexology, psychology, sociology, or social and cultural history. This is a philosophical book; the approach will be ethical or, more broadly, philosophical.

When it comes to sex as a topic of philosophy, though, the surprising fact is that it is only comparatively recently that it has come to engage any stronger and sustained interest among professional philosophers. In this connection, it is instructive to refer to "The Metaphysics of Sexual Love" by Arthur Schopenhauer, written in 1844. In view of the unquestionable importance, indeed centrality, of sexuality in human life, Schopenhauer is surprised that philosophers should have ignored the subject almost completely, and left it to poets and novelists. The history of philosophy offers just a few exceptions to this general disregard, and they, in his view, do not amount to much:

It is Plato who has been most concerned with it, especially in the Banquet and the Phaedrus; yet what he says about it is confined to the sphere of myths, fables, and jokes, and for the most part concerns only the Greek love of boys. The little that Rousseau says about our theme in the Discours sur I'inégalité…is false and inadequate. Kant's discussion of the subject in the third section of the essay On the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime…is very superficial and without special knowledge; thus it is also partly incorrect…. Spinoza's definition, on the other hand, deserves to be

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