Sexual Perversion and Human Nature

Philosophy Research Archives 13:331-350 (1987)
Abstract
In this essay I examine seven of the best-known attempts to define ‘sexual perversion’. I argue that if these definitions are meant to prescribe our use of ‘sexual perversion’, the definitions are really theoretical definitions, and none can be accepted because the arguments offered in support of the definitions are either incomplete or misdirected. Next, I argue that it is not possible to formulate a definition of ‘sexual perversion’ which captures our ordinary use of the term because common usage indicates that ‘sexual perversion’ is a cluster term. Finally, I consider whether it is possible to develop and defend a theoretical definition of ‘sexual perversion’. I argue that to succeed in this task one must first demonstrate that a particular theory of human nature is true, and that this cannot be done because human nature is an essentially contested concept
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