Dark desires

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (4):377-410 (2003)
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Abstract

An influential view of sexual morality claims that participant consent is sufficient for the moral permissibility of a sexual act. I argue that the complex and frequently dark nature of sexual desire precludes this, because some sexual desire has a character such that it should not be gratified, even if this were consented to. I illustrate this with a discussion of a famous literary character, the Vicomte de Valmont, and draw on Kant's anthropology to illuminate the nature of such desire, before offering an account of its psychological roots. In the course of the paper I explain why the view of sexual desire endorsed by my main opponents is mistaken, and attack the limited conception of the normative which is a central plank in the argument of a prominent recent defender of the view, Igor Primoratz.

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Seiriol Morgan
University of Bristol

Citations of this work

Sex By Deception.Berit Brogaard - 2022 - In Manuel Vargas & John Doris (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. pp. 683-711.
Prostitution and the Good of Sex.Sascha Settegast - 2018 - Social Theory and Practice 44 (3):377-403.
Sex and Sexuality.Raja Halwani - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
BDSM.Shaun Miller - 2022 - In Raja Halwani, Jacob M. Held, Natasha McKeever & Alan G. Soble (eds.), The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, 8th edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 507-524.
Feminist perspectives on objectification.Evangelia Papadaki - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
Sexual perversion.Thomas Nagel - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (1):5-17.
Sexual morality: Is consent enough?Igor Primoratz - 2001 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):201-218.
Sex in the Head.Seiriol Morgan - 2003 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (1):1-16.

View all 8 references / Add more references