Abstract: This essay explores recent trends and major issues related to gay and lesbian philosophy in ethics (including issues concerning the morality of homosexuality, the natural function of sex, and outing and coming out); religion (covering past and present debates about the status of homosexuality and how biblical and qur'anic passages have been interpreted by both sides of the debate); the law (especially a discussion of the debates surrounding sodomy laws, same-sex marriage and its impact on transsexuals, and whether the (...) law should be used to enforce morality); scientific research into the origins of homosexuality (including discussion of arguments against such research); and metaphysics (especially the question of whether homosexuality is socially constructed during particular times and in particular cultures, or whether sexual orientation is an essential trait cutting across times and cultures). (shrink)
In his 'Of the Standard of Taste' David Hume seems to make the paradoxical claim that even though the sentiments an agent feels in response to an artwork are subjective and unique, and it cannot be said that such sentiments are either correct or incorrect, there is a standard upon which art can be judged, which is at least partly determined by these sentiments.
Ordinary normative discourse includes talk about the reasons for action we had in the past but only came to discover in hindsight. In some cases, we come to discover these reasons not because new information has come to light, but because our values have changed. Contemporary metaethical views, namely Street's Humean constructivism and Blackburn's and Gibbard's quasi-realism, have some difficulty accounting for these reasons and the claims we make about them. This difficulty hinges on the diachronic complexity of these reasons (...) and claims. It cannot be the case that these reasons were constructed by the perspective we had in the past before our values changed. If there were no extant reasons in the past, then it would seem that our claims about them in the present cannot be true. Quasi-realists can account for the way in which reason claims purport to be true by appealing to a deflationary sense of truth and so can remain agnostic on the actual existence of these reasons. Nevertheless, Street argues that t.. (shrink)
Even though it is relative to his motivational set, a reason to overcome repression is external in the sense that an agent cannot correctly deliberate about it. If he could correctly deliberate about it, he would already have overcome his repression and therefore would lose his reason to do so. Such cases stand as counterexamples to arguments about the existence of external reasons. For example, in their now famous debate, John McDowell concludes there are while Bernard Williams concludes there are (...) no external reasons for action. An external reason is a reason that motivates an agent simply because it is the right or reasonable thing to do. Williams, on the one hand, claims that an agent can only determine that a reason is right or reasonable by deliberating about it and all deliberation turns out to be internal. McDowell, on the other hand, claims that an agent can come to see that a reason is right or reasonable, not through deliberation, but merely through a conversion of normative perception. If one thinks, like McDowell, that some reasons can simply be perceived, then one is free to think, unlike McDowell, that the normativity of relative reasons can simply be perceived without deliberation. (shrink)
Yoga, like the other five orthodox schools or darśanas of Hindu philosophy, is primarily soteriological in purpose; it offers the hope of salvation from the inevitable suffering of life and the cycle of death and rebirth more broadly. Unlike the other darśanas, its prescribed method for achieving this salvation is meditation, by which the practitioner focuses his or her attention so as to become undisturbed by the fluctuations of his or her own consciousness caused by stimuli in the external world (...) and by upheavals in his or her own emotional state. In light of this, the individual practices that comprise the path of meditation are often understood to liberate one from one’s own consciousness by turning one’s... (shrink)