The Info List - Philosophy Of Sex

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PHILOSOPHY OF SEX is an aspect of applied philosophy involved with the study of sex and love . It includes both ethics of phenomena such as prostitution , rape , sexual harassment , sexual identity , the age of consent , homosexuality , and conceptual analysis of concepts such as "what is sex?" It also includes questions of sexuality and sexual identity and the ontological status of gender . Leading contemporary philosophers of sex include Alan Soble
Alan Soble
and Judith Butler
Judith Butler

Contemporary philosophy
Contemporary philosophy
of sex is sometimes informed by Western feminism . Issues raised by feminists regarding gender differences, sexual politics, and the nature of sexual identity are important questions in the philosophy of sex.

* What is the function of sex? * What is romantic love ? * Is there an essential characteristic that makes an act sexual? * Are some sexual acts good and others bad? According to what criteria? Alternatively, can consensual sexual acts be immoral, or are they outside the realm of ethics? * What is the relationship between sex and biological reproduction? Can one exist without the other? * Are sexual identities rooted in some fundamental ontological difference (such as biology)? * Is sexuality a function of gender or biological sex?


* 1 History of the philosophy of sex * 2 Sexual desire * 3 Putative perversions * 4 Consent * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links


Throughout much of the history of Western philosophy, questions of sex and sexuality have been considered only within the general subject of ethics. There have, however, been deviations from this pattern out of which emerge a tradition of speaking of sexual issues in their own right.

The Society
for the Philosophy
of Sex and Love
is a professional group within the membership of the American Philosophical Association .


Moral evaluations of sexual activity are determined by judgments on the nature of the sexual impulse. In this light, philosophies fall into two camps:

A negative understanding of sexuality, such as from Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
, believes that sexuality undermines values, and challenges our moral treatment of other persons. Sex, says Kant, "makes of the loved person an Object of appetite". In this understanding, sex is often advised only for the purpose of procreation. Sometimes sexual celibacy is considered to lead to the best, or most moral life.

A positive understanding of sexuality – such as from Russell Vannoy , Irving Singer – sees sexual activity as pleasing the self and the other at the same time.


Main article: Paraphilia

Thomas Nagel
Thomas Nagel
proposes that only sexual interactions with mutual sexual arousal are natural to human sexuality. Perverted sexual encounters or events would be those in which this reciprocal arousal is absent, and in which a person remains fully a subject of the sexual experience or fully an object.


Main article: Informed consent
Informed consent


* Antisexualism * Religion and sexuality * Sex positivism * Society and sexuality


* ^ Alan Soble. Internet encyclopedia of philosophy: Philosophy
of Sexuality * ^ Kant, Immanuel. Lectures on Ethics, p. 163 * ^ St. Paul's praising, in 1 Corinthians 7, sexual celibacy as the ideal spiritual state. * ^ Nagel's "Sexual Perversion," pp. 15-17.


* Aquinas , St. Thomas. Summa Theologiae. Cambridge, Eng.: Blackfriars, 1964-76. * Augustine , St. (Aurelius). On Marriage and Concupiscence, in The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, vol. 12, ed. Marcus Dods. Edinburgh, Scot.: T. & T. Clark, 1874. * Baker, Robert, Kathleen Wininger, and Frederick Elliston, eds. Philosophy
and Sex, 3rd edition. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1998. * Baumrin, Bernard. "Sexual Immorality Delineated," in Robert Baker and Frederick Elliston, eds., Philosophy
and Sex, 2nd edition. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1984, pp. 300–11. * Bloom, Allan. Love
and Friendship. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. * Buckley Jr., William F., Camille Paglia , Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan
, Arianna Huffington , Michael Kinsley , et al., "Has the Women's Movement Been Disastrous?: A Firing Line Debate," in Sterling Harwood, ed., Business as Ethical and Business as Usual (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996). * Butler, Judith (1990). Gender
Trouble: Feminism
and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-90043-3 . * Butler, Judith (1993). Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-90365-3 . * Christensen, F. M., "A Defense of Pornography," in Sterling Harwood, ed., Business as Ethical and Business as Usual (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996). * Christina, Greta. "Are We Having Sex Now or What?" in Alan Soble, ed., The Philosophy
of Sex, 3rd edition. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997, pp. 3–8. * Finnis, John . "Law, Morality, and 'Sexual Orientation'," Notre Dame Law
Review 69:5 (1994), pp. 1049–76. * Finnis, John and Martha Nussbaum
Martha Nussbaum
. "Is Homosexual Conduct Wrong? A Philosophical Exchange," in Alan Soble, ed., The Philosophy
of Sex, 3rd edition. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997, pp. 89–94. * Foucault, Michel . The History of Sexuality. Vols. 1-3. New York: Vintage, 1990. (Original French publications of the three volumes in 1978, 1984, and 1984, respectively) * Gray, Robert. "Sex and Sexual Perversion," in Alan Soble, ed., The Philosophy
of Sex, 3rd edition. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997, pp. 57–66. * Grisez, Germain. The Way of the Lord Jesus. Quincy, Ill.: Franciscan Press, 1993. * Gudorf, Christine. Body, Sex, and Pleasure: Reconstructing Christian Sexual Ethics. Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim Press, 1994. * Hampton, Jean. "Defining Wrong and Defining Rape," in Keith Burgess-Jackson, ed., A Most Detestable Crime: New Philosophical Essays on Rape. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 118–56. * Held, Virginia. "Coercion and Coercive Offers," in J. Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman, eds., Coercion: Nomos VIX. Chicago, Ill.: Aldine, 1972, pp. 49–62. * Jung, Patricia, and Ralph Smith. Heterosexism: An Ethical Challenge. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1993. * Kant , Immanuel. Lectures on Ethics. Translated by Louis Infield. New York: Harper and Row, 1963. * Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals. Translated by Mary Gregor. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1996. * Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love
and Knowledge, Book
XX, Encore, 1972–1973, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W. W. Norton New York : Routledge, 1999. * Sanders, Stephanie, and June Reinisch. "Would You Say You 'Had Sex' If . . . ?" Journal of the American Medical Association 281:3 (January 20, 1999), pp. 275–77. * Scheer, Robert, "Bigger Breasts: The Great Implant Lie," in Sterling Harwood, ed., Business as Ethical and Business as Usual (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996). * Roger Scruton
Roger Scruton
. Sexual Desire: A Moral Philosophy
of the Erotic. New York: Free Press, 1986. * Singer, Irving. The Nature of Love, vol. 2: Courtly and Romantic. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1984. * Soble, Alan. "Antioch's 'Sexual Offense Policy': A Philosophical