Journal of Social Philosophy 32 (3):446–462 (2001)

Kory P. Schaff
California State University, Los Angeles
I argue that there is nothing in Kant’s moral theory that legitimates condemnation of same-sex relations and that the arguments from natural ends Kant relies on in doing so are unjustified by the constraints placed upon morality to avoid the empirical determination of judgments. In order to make clear why same-sex activity does not contradict the requirements of the moral law, we need to understand Kant’s account of legitimate sexual activity. I provide this reconstruction in the first section, drawing upon the Lectures on Ethics and Metaphysics of Morals. In the second section, I critique the first kind of argument that grounds Kant’s assessment, that from natural ends. I show how it is based upon underlying teleological premises and raise doubts concerning Kant’s reliance on “regulative ideas” in making a consistent ethical theory. In the third section, I argue that same-sex activity that conforms to the conditions of the moral law, especially given the concepts of consent and reciprocity, are in conformity with Kant’s formal requirement of the law of pure practical reason, and therefore cannot justifiably be condemned on those grounds. Finally, I conclude with some discussion about Rawls and political liberalism. I hope to show how the present Kantian revival in ethical theory can place itself in opposition to the conservative and homophobic hysteria surrounding debates on political and legal issues such as same-sex “marriage.”
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/0047-2786.00106
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,410
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Kant on the Law of Marriage.Allan Beever - 2013 - Kantian Review 18 (3):339-362.
Recognizing Care: The Case for Friendship and Polyamory.Elizabeth Brake - 2014 - Syracuse Law and Civic Engagement Forum 1 (1).
Kant-Bibliographie 2001.Margit Ruffing - 2003 - Kant Studien 94 (4):474-528.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Justice and Restrain.João Cardoso Rosas - 2006 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 2:153-157.
Civic Respect, Political Liberalism, and Non-Liberal Societies.Blain Neufeld - 2005 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (3):275-299.
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.Michael Sandel - 2003 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge, in Association with the Open University. pp. 336-343.


Added to PP index

Total views
62 ( #186,204 of 2,519,855 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #116,855 of 2,519,855 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes