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.
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 (...) biology of the sexed human body. I eventually argue that sexual identity is a cluster concept, which is constituted by sex, gender, sexual practice and desire. In this sense the following argument against “foundationalism” in philosophy of sex emerges: none of the four aspects of sexual identity can function as basic, prior to any normative commitments regarding the nature of human sexuality. (shrink)
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 (...) demanding conception of rationality and defends sexual pleasure. But this approach of thinkers like Hume, Bentham, La Mettrie and de Sade is still one-sided and limiting. A third constellation, Romanticism avoids the limitations of both forms of rationalism, but in the name of a religion of love and passion that ultimately threatens the integrity of the self. In Reason and Sexuality in Western Thought, a richer understanding of sexual experience is traced to a dissident philosophical tradition. In their different ways Montaigne, Spinoza, Hegel and Kierkegaard, Marcuse and Foucault contribute to a more holistic, multi-layered and open conception of reason, sexuality and the self. This book will be essential reading for all students of philosophy and gender studies. (shrink)