The sex/gender distinction is a staple of feminist philosophy. In slogan form: sex is “natural,” while gender is the “social meaning” of sex. Considering the importance of the sex/gender distinction—which, here, I neither endorse nor reject—it’s interesting to ask if philosophers working on the metaphysics of sexuality might make use of an analogous distinction. In this paper, I argue that we ought to endorse the sexual orientation/identity distinction. In particular, I argue that the orientation/identity distinction is indispensable to normative explanations (...) regarding LGBTQIA+ oppression and resistance. As a case study, I consider the oppression involved in the gentrification of historic queer neighborhoods. (shrink)
I defend an account of sexual orientation, understood as a reflexive disposition to be sexually attracted to people of a particular biological Sex or Sexes. An orientation is identified in terms of two aspects: the Sex of the subject who has the disposition, and whether that Sex is the same as, or different to, the Sex to which the subject is disposed to be attracted. I explore this account in some detail and defend it from several challenges. In doing so, (...) I provide a theoretical framework that justifies our continued reference to Sex-directed sexual orientation as an important means of classifying human subjects. (shrink)
At first sight, homosexuality has little to do with reproduction. Nevertheless, many neo-Darwinian theoreticians think that human homosexuality may have had a procreative value, since it enabled the close kin of homosexuals to have more viable offspring than individuals lacking the support of homosexual siblings. In this article, however, we will defend an alternative hypothesis - originally put forward by Freud in "A phylogenetic phantasy" - namely that homosexuality evolved as a means to strengthen social bonds. Consequently, from an evolutionary (...) point of view, homosexuality and heterosexuality have entirely distinct origins: there is no continuum from heterosexuality to homosexuality. Indeed, the natural history we propose shows that the intensity of the homosexual inclination has little or no predictive value with regard to the intensity of heterosexual tendencies. In fact, this may be a sound Darwinian way to understand sexual ambivalence. But if sexual ambivalence is a biological datum, one has to conclude that psychodynamic mechanisms are often needed in order to explain exclusive heterosexuality or exclusive homosexuality. (shrink)
Abstract. Scientists have long puzzled over how homosexual orientation has evolved, given the assumed low relative fitness of homosexual individuals compared to heterosexual individuals. A number of theoretical models for the evolution of homosexuality have been postulated including balance polymorphism, "Fertile females", hypervariability of DNA sequences, kin selection, and "parental manipulation". In this paper, I propose a new group-selection model for the evolution of homosexuality which offers two advantages over existing models: (1) its non-assumption of genetic determinism, and (2) its (...) lack of dependency on an inefficient altruism relation and family dynamics theory. (shrink)
For a balanced discussion of the main social, medical, and philosophical aspects of homosexuality, here is the ideal book. Written by philosophers of science, each comprehensive chapter takes a critical look at research on the etiology of homosexuality. Read Philosophy and Homosexuality and examine the evidence for both the sociobiological and hormonal explanations of homosexuality and study the definitions of sexual orientation and how they have affected research.
This article is a postscript to Bem's (1996) theory of sexual orientation, which claims that an individual's sexual orientation is more directly the result of childhood experiences than of inborn biological factors. The possibility that the theory provides a successful strategy for preventing gender-nonconforming children from becoming homosexual adults is considered and rejected. So, too, is the thesis that biological explanations of homosexuality are more likely than experience-based explanations to promote gay-positive attitudes and practices.
Although biological findings currently dominate the research literature on the de- terminants of sexual orientation, biological theorizing has not yet spelled out a developmental path by which any of the various biological correlates so far iden- tified might lead to a particular sexual orientation. The Exotic-Becomes-Erotic (EBE) theory of sexual orientation (Bem, 1996) attempts to do just that, by sug- gesting how biological variables might interact with experiential and sociocultural factors to influence an individual’s sexual orientation. Evidence for the theory (...) is reviewed, and a path analysis of data from a large sample of twins is presented which yields preliminary support for the theory’s claim that correlations between genetic variables and sexual orientation are mediated by childhood gender non- conformity. (shrink)