Is Monogamy Morally Permissible?

Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (2):225-241 (2019)
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Commonsense morality holds that monogamy is morally permissible. In this paper I will challenge this, arguing that monogamy is in fact morally impermissible. First I’ll argue that monogamy’s restriction on having additional partners seems analogous to a morally troubling restriction on having additional friends. Faced with this apparent analogy, the defender of monogamy must find a morally relevant difference between the two kinds of restriction. Yet, as I’ll argue, there seems to be no such morally relevant difference, for the standard defenses of monogamy all fail. I take this to be evidence that monogamy’s restriction on having additional partners is in fact morally analogous to a restriction on having additional friends. Just as a restriction on having additional friends is immoral, so, too, is monogamy’s restriction on having additional partners.



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Harry Chalmers
Brown University (PhD)

Citations of this work

Monogamy Unredeemed.Harry Chalmers - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (3):1009-1034.
A couple of reasons in favor of monogamy.Kyle York - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
The Ethics of Relationship Anarchy.Ole Martin Moen & Aleksander Sørlie - forthcoming - In Lori Watson, Clare Chambers & Brian D. Earp (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality. Routledge.

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