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The Nature of Sex

Edited by Benjamin Smart (University of Birmingham, University of Johannesburg)
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  1. Sharon L. Crasnow (2001). Models and Reality: When Science Tackles Sex. Hypatia 16 (3):138-148.
  2. Paisley Currah & Lisa Jean Moore (2009). “We Won't Know Who You Are”: Contesting Sex Designations in New York City Birth Certificates. Hypatia 24 (3):113-135.
  3. Alan H. Goldman (1977). Plain Sex. Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (3):267-287.
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  4. Seiriol Morgan (2003). Sex in the Head. Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (1):1–16.
    Recent philosophical writing on sexual desire divides broadly into two camps. Reductionists take sexual desire to aim at an essentially physical bodily pleasure, whereas intentionalist accounts take a focus upon the reciprocal interaction of the mental states of the partners to be crucial for understanding the phenomenon. I argue that the apparent plausibility of reductionism rests upon the flawed assumption that sexual pleasure has the same uniform bodily character in all sexual encounters, which rests in turn upon flawed assumptions in (...)
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Defining Sexual Activity
  1. Gregory Baum, John Aloysius Coleman & Marcus Lefébure (eds.) (1984). The Sexual Revolution. T. & T. Clark.
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  2. Nikolay Milkov (2011). Sexual Experience. In McEnvoy Adrienne (ed.), Sex, Love, and Friendship, vol. 2. Rodopi
    The paper follows an ontological approach in analyzing sexual experience. Sexual experience is defined as: (i) an experience in action. Correspondingly, its individuals are of two different types: (a) sense-data and (b) gestures. (ii) It is a kind of knowledge—a typical synthetic a posteriori knowledge (a virgin cannot know what sexual experience could be). (iii) It is a kind of anti-realist knowledge—its objects are constructed in the process of knowing. (iv) Sexual action proceeds in judgments that are micro-decisions of how (...)
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  3. Alan Soble (2009). A History of Erotic Philosophy. Journal of Sex Research 49 (2-3):104-120.
  4. Alan Soble (2006). Review of Joan McGregor, Is It Rape? [REVIEW] Law and Philosophy 25 (6).
    A critical review of a book on rape by Joan McGregor.
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  5. Alan Soble (ed.) (2002). The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings. Rowman & Littlefield.
  6. Alan Soble (1999). Loose Women, Lecherous Men. Teaching Philosophy 22 (4):411-416.
  7. Alan Soble (1997). Antioch's “Sexual Offense Policy”: A Philosophical Exploration. Journal of Social Philosophy 28 (1):22-36.
    An analytic investigation of Antioch's "Sexual Offense Policy.".
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  8. A. Thatcher (1996). Safe Sex, Unsafe Arguments. Studies in Christian Ethics 9 (2):66-77.
Procreative Views of Sex
  1. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2009). Transsexualität Zwischen Genetik Und Sozialer Praxis. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 57 (5):757-780.
    Transsexuality has been subject to careful reflections in many disciplines outside philosophy. I first contextualize my philosophical approach by relating to the existing scholarship on transsexuality. Focusing on matters of sexual identity, I then propose a characterization of what might be considered the philosophical dimension of transsexual identity. Paying particular attention to the propositional consciousness of transsexuals, I develop the main thesis that transsexuality helps philosophers of sex to forcefully establish the contingency of sexual identity in terms of the underlying (...)
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  2. Timothy Hsiao (2015). A Defense of the Perverted Faculty Argument Against Homosexual Sex. Heythrop Journal 56 (5):751-758.
    Critics of homosexual activity often appeal to some form of natural law theory as a basis for their arguments. According to one version of natural law theory, actions that “pervert” or misuse a bodily faculty are immoral. In this paper, I argue that this “perverted faculty argument” provides a successful account of good and evil action. Several objections are assessed and found inadequate.
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  3. David West (2005). Reason and Sexuality in Western Thought. Polity: Cambridge UK & Malden US.
    This book traces the genealogy of ideas of reason, self and sexuality in the West, opening the way to a richer and more diverse understanding of sexual experience. Western philosophy and religion have distorted and continue to distort our experience of sex and love through three far-reaching constellations of reason, self and sexuality. Thinkers like Plato, Aquinas and Kant helped to fashion an ascetic ideal of reason hostile to bodily pleasures and sexual diversity. By contrast, philosophical hedonism advocates a less (...)
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Expressive Views of Sex
  1. Alan Soble (2009). A History of Erotic Philosophy. Journal of Sex Research 49 (2-3):104-120.
  2. David West (2005). Reason and Sexuality in Western Thought. Polity: Cambridge UK & Malden US.
    This book traces the genealogy of ideas of reason, self and sexuality in the West, opening the way to a richer and more diverse understanding of sexual experience. Western philosophy and religion have distorted and continue to distort our experience of sex and love through three far-reaching constellations of reason, self and sexuality. Thinkers like Plato, Aquinas and Kant helped to fashion an ascetic ideal of reason hostile to bodily pleasures and sexual diversity. By contrast, philosophical hedonism advocates a less (...)
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Love-based Views of Sex
  1. Adrianne Leigh McEvoy (ed.) (2011). Sex, Love, and Friendship: Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love: 1993-2003. Rodopi.
    One WHY LOVERS CAN'T BE FRIENDS James Conlon That one's spouse is also one's closest friend is a common claim and seems innocent enough. ...
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  2. Alan Soble (2009). A History of Erotic Philosophy. Journal of Sex Research 49 (2-3):104-120.
  3. David West (2005). Reason and Sexuality in Western Thought. Polity: Cambridge UK & Malden US.
    This book traces the genealogy of ideas of reason, self and sexuality in the West, opening the way to a richer and more diverse understanding of sexual experience. Western philosophy and religion have distorted and continue to distort our experience of sex and love through three far-reaching constellations of reason, self and sexuality. Thinkers like Plato, Aquinas and Kant helped to fashion an ascetic ideal of reason hostile to bodily pleasures and sexual diversity. By contrast, philosophical hedonism advocates a less (...)
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Normal vs Abnormal Sex
  1. Ladelle McWhorter (1999). Bodies and Pleasures: Foucault and the Politics of Sexual Normalization. Indiana University Press.
    In Bodies and Pleasures, Ladelle McWhorter reads Foucault from an original and personal angle, motivated by the differences this experience has made in her life.
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  2. Alan Soble (2009). A History of Erotic Philosophy. Journal of Sex Research 49 (2-3):104-120.
  3. Alan Soble (ed.) (2002). The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings. Rowman & Littlefield.
The Nature of Sex, Misc
  1. Vern L. Bullough (1995). Sexual Attitudes: Myths & Realities. Prometheus Books.
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  2. Robert F. Card (2002). Intentions, the Nature of Fantasizing and Naughty Fantasies. Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2):159-161.
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  3. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2011). Transsexuality: Reconciling Christianity and Science. Toronto Journal of Theology 27 (1):51-71.
    Furthering the dialogue with J. Wentzel van Huyssteen over his way of reconciling Christianity and science while reflecting on human uniqueness, I offer a philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of transsexuality. The focus of my analysis is the implications of transsexuality for the metaphysics of reductive naturalism. Envisioning a pluralistic ontology of the sexed human body, I propose to account for human sexuality within the general framework of normative pragmatism. The context of my reflections is a theology of sexual diversity, (...)
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  4. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2009). Transsexualität Zwischen Genetik Und Sozialer Praxis. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 57 (5):757-780.
    Transsexuality has been subject to careful reflections in many disciplines outside philosophy. I first contextualize my philosophical approach by relating to the existing scholarship on transsexuality. Focusing on matters of sexual identity, I then propose a characterization of what might be considered the philosophical dimension of transsexual identity. Paying particular attention to the propositional consciousness of transsexuals, I develop the main thesis that transsexuality helps philosophers of sex to forcefully establish the contingency of sexual identity in terms of the underlying (...)
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  5. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2007). Sexualphilosophie. LIT.
    This book is an introduction to philosophy of sex. The history of philosophy of sex is depicted (from Plato to Herman Schmitz) to set up the background against which the philosophy of sex by Herman Schmitz is analyzed. This leads to the discussion of topics like masturbation, the ontology of the sexed human body, and same-sex marriage.
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  6. Lisa Guenther (2010). Other Fecundities: Proust and Irigaray on Sexual Difference. Differences 21 (2).
    Irigaray's early work seeks to multiply possibilities for women's self-expression by recovering a sexual difference in which male and female are neither the same nor opposites, but irreducibly different modes of embodiment. In her more recent work, however, Irigaray has emphasized the duality of the sexes at the expense of multiplicity, enshrining the heterosexual couple as the model of sexual ethics. Alison Stone's recent revision of Irigaray supplements her account of sexual duality with a theory of bodily multiplicity derived from (...)
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  7. Gail Hawkes (1996). A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality. Open University Press.
    A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality offers an historical sociological analysis of ideas about expressions of sexual desire, combining both primary and secondary historical and theoretical material with original research and popular imagery in the contemporary context. While some reference is made to the sexual ideology of Classical Antiquity and of early Christianity, the major focus of the book is on the development of ideas about sex and sexuality in the context of modernity. It questions the widespread assumption that the (...)
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  8. Kevin MacDonald (1999). What About Sex Differences? An Adaptationist Perspective on “the Lines of Causal Influence” of Personality Systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):530-531.
    The evolutionary theory of sex implies a theoretically principled account of the causal mechanisms underlying personality systems in which males pursue a relatively high-risk strategy compared to females and are thus higher on traits linked to sensation seeking and social dominance. Females are expected to be lower on these traits but higher on traits related to nurturance and attraction to long-term relationships. The data confirm this pattern of sex differences. It is thus likely that these traits have been a focus (...)
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  9. C. Rayner (1977). The Meaning of Sex: A View From the Agony Column. Journal of Medical Ethics 3 (4):157-159.
    This is a slightly edited version of a talk given by Mrs Claire Rayner, a journalist and broadcaster, to a conference on human sexuality held under the auspices of the London Medical Group in the spring of this year. Mrs Rayner's lively presentation conveys the problems and anxieties which people face in this area, even in this so-called `permissive' age.
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  10. Alan Soble (1999). Loose Women, Lecherous Men. Teaching Philosophy 22 (4):411-416.