Consider manipulation in which one agent, avoiding force, threat, or fraud mobilizes some non-concern motive of another so as to induce this other to behave or move differently than she would otherwise have behaved or moved, given her circumstances and her initial ranking of concerns. As an instance, imagine that I get us to miss the opening of a play that I have grudgingly agreed to attend by engaging your sublimated compulsive tendency to check the stove when we are halfway (...) to the theatre. Such motive manipulation is, I take it, widely regarded as morally worrisome. If it really is morally worrisome, then we should be able to explain adequately why it is so. But existing condemnations of manipulation come up short in this regard. In this paper, I develop and defend a more plausible account of the moral status of this phenomenon. (shrink)
Recently, the US has joined many European jurisdictions in extending civil marriage to same sex as well as different sex dyads. Many liberals regard this as a development worth entrenching. But a prominent recent liberal challenge to civil marriage claims otherwise. According to this challenge, by defining and conferring civil marriage, the state privileges some relationships over others that serve equally well the important liberal goal of fostering effective liberal citizenship, in violation of a prominent interpretation of the doctrine of (...) state neutrality. Theorists who press this challenge, such as Elizabeth Brake and Tamara Metz, argue that it can be met effectively only by dismantling civil marriage and replacing it with more inclusive state-maintained arrangements. So far, prominent responses to this neutralist challenge to civil marriage have focused on the special value of either the relationships to which civil marriage currently extends, or the special value of civil marriage itself. In this article, I develop an alternative reply to this neutralist challenge to civil marriage, one focusing instead on the special vulnerabilities of some of the liberally valuable relationships to which civil marriage currently extends, amorous caregiving dyads. (shrink)
Among human beings, sexual pursuit takes many forms. Some forms, like courtship, are morally innocuous. Other forms, like rape, are categorically immoral. Still other forms are provisionally immoral. Such forms of sexual pursuit involve a wrongful element sufficient to render them wrongful on balance provided that this wrongful element is not counterbalanced by even more important competing moral considerations. Here my focus is a particular form of provisionally immoral sexual pursuit, unsavory sexual seduction , or unsavory seduction for short.
RÉSUMÉ: Une «situation de choix paradoxal» est une situation dans laquelle un agent connaîtrait davantage de succès en regard des préférences qu’il a effectivement, si ces préférences étaient différentes de ce qu’elles sont. Supposons que les agents rationnels ne choisissent pas à l’encontre de leurs préférences, que leur choix n’est déterminé que par ces préférences, et que leurs préférences intrinsèques ne changent pas de façon spontanée, automatique et directe sous l’influence de la critique rationnelle. Même dans de telles hypothèses, les (...) agents rationnels peuvent résoudre optimalement un éventail de situations de choix paradoxal au moyen de mécanismes qui les amènent à réviser leurs préférences. Dans cet article, je présente et défends un tel modèle de révision rationnelle des préférences. (shrink)
According to sexual liberals, sexual activity is an activity like any other, properly governed by rules drawn from the set of justified moral rules governing all human activities, sexual and non-sexual alike. There are sexual liberals who claim that all sexual activity involving none of force, fraud, or taking advantage of the desperate circumstances of another is morally unproblematic. Here I shall argue that sexual liberalism ought not to be so permissive. Appealing to considerations of autonomy and consistency, I shall (...) argue that that sexual liberals ought to regard some sexual seduction involving none of force, fraud, or taking advantage of the desperate circumstances of another as prima facie immoral always, and as on-balance immoral at least sometimes. (shrink)
There are entitlements, opportunities, and rights presently reserved to married couples by the basic structure of society, its major social institutions. Some claim that this is as it should be. But given the abiding effects of the basic structure on the prospects of individuals living within it, restrictions on liberty built into the basic structure require justification. One might think that we could justify reserving the benefits of marriage to married couples by appealing to harm prevention. In this paper, I (...) argue that the prospects of doing so successfully are dim. (shrink)
Let the marriage bond be the set of extralegal obligations to one another that individuals acquire in getting married. And let a conception of the marriage bond be an account of the nature and content of these. Here, I argue that the conception of this bond dominant among us is uncongenial to romantic love among individuals of a certain psychological type. Then, after articulating a conception more congenial to romantic love among such individuals, I argue that if we wish to (...) make marriage safer for love, we should make room in our thinking and practice for this conception, embracing a form of marital pluralism. (shrink)