Moral Reflections on Prostitution

Essays in Philosophy 2 (2):73-83 (2001)
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Many “liberal,” or libertarian, accounts of prostitution assert that prostitution is no more intrinsically wrong or harmful than any other type of service work.1 I believe that prostitution violates the Kantian “principle of humanity,” because it reflects a disrespectful attitude, which is expressed in the nonchalant use of the human body as a mere means to achieve some goal.2 I hope to convince my readers, who may not share my moral presuppositions, that prostitution defies the limits of respectful sexual relations, because it proffers a monetary substitute for mutual desire and concern and, hence, that it is a morally questionable and harmful activity.3 In support of these claims, I offer: 1) a discussion of Kantian morality and sexual ethics, 2) an explanation of the minimum criteria for respectful sexual relations, 3) a description of the general dynamic of prostitution, 4) an analysis of the client’s objective, and 5) a phenomenology of prostituted sex



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Citations of this work

The Philosophy of sex: contemporary readings.Alan Soble (ed.) - 2002 - Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Littlefield.
Prostitution and the ideal state: a defense of a policy of vigilance.Agustin Vicente - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):475-487.
Philosophy of Sex.Patricia Marino - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (1):22-32.
Sex: we can’t have it both ways.Ezio Di Nucci - 2019 - Monash Bioethics Review 37 (1-2):38-45.

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References found in this work

The Subjection of Women.John Stuart Mill - 1869 - Peterborough, CA: Broadview Press.
Prostitution.Alison Jaggar - 1980 - In Alan Soble (ed.), Readings in the Philosophy of Sex. Totowa, N.J: Littlefield, Adams & Co.

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