This encyclopedia article on the philosophy of sexuality discusses the main themes, concepts, and debates in the field, including the metaphysics (or philosophical anthropology) of sex, the morality of sexual behavior, pragmatic and utilitarian evaluations of sexuality, and sexual perversion.
The background -- Projects; the significance of sex and love; secret pictures; sexual pluralism -- A history of the philosophy of sex and love -- The ancients; medieval philosophy; modern philosophy; the twentieth century; contemporary philosophy -- Sex -- Sexual concepts -- Analytic questions; sexual activity; sexual desire; social constructionism; polysemicity (polysemy); sexual sensations -- Sexual perversion -- St. thomas aquinas; problems with natural law; psychological perversion; psychiatry and perversion; a conceptual framework -- Sexual ethics -- Contraception; beyond natural law; (...) immanuel kant; contemporary kantian philosophy; utilitarianism; sadomasochism; love -- Sexual politics -- Consent, again; pedophilia; prostitution and marriage; marital rape; compulsory heterosexuality; pornography -- Love -- Varieties of love -- What is love?; love and value; eros and agape; evaluating and assessing love; the fine gold thread; concern and benevolence; union -- Features of love -- Tangles in theories of love; exclusivity; uniqueness; irreplaceability; constancy; reciprocity -- Sex, love, and marriage -- Pauline marriage; the links; sex and love; the death of desire; saving marriage; reasons for monogamy; reasons for marriage -- Gender -- Women and men; gender and sex surveys; heterosexual failure; gendered sexuality; gendered love. (shrink)
This article discusses the views of Immanuel Kant on sexual perversion (what he calls "carnal crimes against nature"), as found in his Vorlesung (Lectures on Ethics) and the Metaphysics of Morals (both the Rechtslehre and Tugendlehre). Kant criticizes sexual perversion by appealing to Natural Law and to his Formula of Humanity. Neither argument for the immorality of sexual perversion succeeds.
This essay is a case study of the self-destruction that occurs in the work of a social-constructionist historian of science who embraces a radical philosophy of science. It focuses on Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud in arguing that a history of science committed to the social construction of science and to the central theses of Kuhnian, Duhemian, and Quinean philosophy of science is incoherent through self-reference. Laqueur's text is examined in detail in order (...) to make the main point; a similar phenomenon in the work of the feminist historian of science Evelyn Fox Keller is then briefly discussed. (shrink)
I examine three common beliefs about love: constancy, exclusivity, and the claim that love is a response to the properties of the beloved. Following a discussion of their relative consistency, I argue that neither the constancy nor the exclusivity of love are saved by the contrary belief, that love is not (entirely) a response to the properties of the beloved.
Some exceptional and surprising mistakes of scholarship made in the writings of a number of feminist academics (Ruth Bleier, Ruth Hubbard, Susan Bordo, Sandra Harding, and Rae Langton) are examined in detail. This essay offers the psychological hypothesis that these mistakes were the result of political passion and concludes with some remarks about the ability of the social sciences to study the effect of the politics of the researcher on the quality of his or her research.
Feminist science critics, in particular Sandra Harding, Carolyn Merchant, and Evelyn Fox Keller, claim that misogynous sexual metaphors played an important role in the rise of modern science. The writings of Francis Bacon have been singled out as an especially egregious instance of the use of misogynous metaphors in scientific philosophy. This paper offers a defense of Bacon.
Romantic love is analyzed as including concern, admiration, the desire for reciprocity, exclusivity, and the passion for union. I argue that the passion for union is its central element. An analysis of “x admires y” which recognizes the intentionality of admiration is used to explain how romantic love practices turn out to be sexist . The analysis also shows that idealization is a special case of admiration, and is therefore not an essential part of romantic love.
Deception of subjects is used frequently in the social sciences. Examples are provided. The ethics of experimental deception are discussed, in particular various maneuvers to solve the problem. The results have implications for the use of deception in the biomedical sciences.