This essay is not about what love is. It is about what self-ascriptions of love do. People typically self-ascribe romantic love when a nexus of feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, commitments, experiences, and personal histories matches their conception of romantic love. But what shapes this conception? And (how) can we adjudicate amongst conflicting conceptions? -/- Self-ascriptions of love do not merely describe the underlying nexus of attitudes and beliefs. They also change it. This essay describes how conceptions of love affect romantic (...) experience. I limn distinctions between love and obsessive infatuation and explore ways language can cultivate queer romantic preferences. Since conceptions of love are shaped, often implicitly, by terms available in one’s linguistic community, the resulting nexus of concepts and conceptions manifests linguistic luck. I suggest ways we might sculpt the language of love to better understand—and change—ourselves. Love can help us flourish and so can our “love” language. (shrink)
In ‘Aeon’ magazine, 2 August 2017, Professor Paul Russell maintains that identities such as race, gender and sexual orientation have equal ethical standing because they cannot be discarded and they are not constituted by beliefs, values or practices. We should, he says, resist attempts to present those who identify as gay as making a choice and affirming certain values and practices that they are capable of shedding. However, such identities can be discarded and they are in part constituted by beliefs, (...) values or practices. Russell’s defence of homosexual equality, because it focuses on the inclination to homosexuality, is pointless and useless. A proper defence of homosexual equality focuses on homosexual lifestyles and argues that the choice of such lifestyles is not wrong. Whether people who choose homosexual lifestyles do so because of a natural and unchangeable inclination, or whether environment or choice plays a part in bringing about that inclination, is an interesting question for science but of no concern for politics. (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)
Kant on sex gives most philosophers the following associations: a lifelong celibate philosopher; a natural teleological view of sexuality; a strange incorporation of this natural teleological account within his freedom-based moral theory; and a stark ethical condemnation of most sexual activity. Although this paper provides an interpretation of Kant’s view on sexuality, it neither defends nor offers an apology for everything Kant says about sexuality. Rather, it aims to show that a reconsidered Kant-based account can utilize his many worthwhile insights (...) and that making Kant’s account of sexuality more consistent with his own basic philosophical commitments results in a compelling approach to the complex and complicated phenomena of sexual love, sexual identity, and sexual orientation. (shrink)
Is there a choice in sexual orientation? [Wilkerson, William S. : “Is It a Choice? Sexual Orientation as Interpretation”. In: Journal of Social Philosophy 40. No. 1, p. 97–116] argues that sexual desires require interpretation in order to be fully constituted, and therefore sexual orientation is at least partially constituted by choice. [Díaz-León, Esa : “Sexual Orientation as Interpretation? Sexual Desires, Concepts, and Choice”; In: Journal of Social Ontology] critically assesses Wilkerson’s argument, concluding that we still lack a good argument (...) for the claim that choice plays a role in sexual orientation. Here I examine Díaz-León’s response to Wilkerson. I introduce what I call the conceptual act theory of sexual orientation, and argue that even if interpretation were not necessary to constitute sexual desires, it is a necessary element to constitute what we call sexual orientation. However, I conclude that even if we agree that interpretation is involved in sexual orientation, it does not follow that there is a choice involved. (shrink)
In this brief paper, I want to begin to explore the possibility that bi-trans dialogue can challenge those forms of oppression that are grounded in sex, gender, and sexuality. I am particularly interested in pursuing the possibility that bi-trans dialogue might result in additional critiques of the sex-gender-sexuality triad. Despite multiple challenges, and myriad historical transmogri-fications (including, it must be noted, the very late addition of gender), that triad maintains its foundationality and posits deep causal links among its three parts. (...) The effect of this causal chain is to render untenable or incomprehensi-ble the lives of all sorts of actual, living persons—lives that are anything but incomprehensible to those living them, but that are made to be so on a system in which there is still a strong tendency to hold that sex causes gender and sexuality. The resilience of this presumed causal connection contributes to ensuring the continued dominance of a two-sex, two-gender, two-sexuality system. (shrink)
Over the past several years, various operational definitions of gender have been used in studies of gender conformity in homosexual males. The goal of these studies is to demonstrate that childhood gender nonconformity (CGN) is either the proximate cause of adult homosexuality or an intermediate step in a biologically mediated process. The hypothesis of a causal connection between the development of gender and sexual orientation is embedded within the context of a biological (evolutionary) understanding of human behavior. Thus, testing the (...) hypothesis of a causal connection between CGN and sexuality requires a concept of gender that is compatible with the basic principles of biological causation and our current understanding of evolutionary processes. I will argue that the concepts of gender used in the attempt to demonstrate a causal connection between CGN and sexual orientation are inappropriate because they provide no uniform, consistent method for identifying and measuring the biologically significant components of gender. I will also argue that the concept of gender that does emerge from these studies suggests an hypothesis about the connection between sexuality and gender that is not consistent with the cross-gendered theory of the etiology of homosexuality. (shrink)
: I argue for a Wittgensteinian reading of Judith Butler's performative conception of identity in light of Marilyn Frye's analysis of lesbian as nonexistent and Butler's analysis of abject. I suggest that the attempt to articulate a performative lesbian identity must take seriously the contexts within which abjection is vital to maintaining gender, exposing the intimate link between context and the formulation of intention, and shedding light on possible lesbian identities irreducible to abjection.
One. Hundred. Years. of. Homosexuality. I. In 1992, when the patriots among us will be celebrating the fivehundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, our cultural historians may wish to mark the centenary of ...
This paper considers the question of whether the explanation of homosexual orientation offered by Sigmund Freud qualifies as a genuine explanation, judged by the criteria of the social sciences. It is argued that the explanation, namely that homosexual orientation is a function of atypical parental influences, is indeed an explanation of the kind found in the social sciences. Nevertheless, it is concluded that to date Freud's hypotheses about homosexuality are no more than unproven speculations. Also considered is the question of (...) whether the very topic of homosexuality falls or ought to fall within the domain of medical inquiry. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)