Know that our moral evaluations of sexual morality often end up in considerations of the metaphysics of sexuality, that is, views about the ultimate and fundamental nature of our sexual desire.
What is metaphysical sexual pessimism? What is metaphysical sexual optimism?
Know that non-moral evaluations, such as the evaluations that are involved in the dangers of sex (diseases for example), will often play a role in our moral evaluations. Remember that normative ethical inquiry, which aims to make prescriptions, usually needs to have a firm base in descriptive judgments that get certain facts correct.
Know how the normative ethical theories we have considered can be applied to some issues in sexual morality.
Know the three-fold criteria that Roger Scruton suggests should guide normal sexual desire (see his podcast above):
1) We should have reciprocity through mutual recognition in which both partners are capable of self-giving.
2) Each person in the relationship should be seen as non-transferable.
3) And the intentionality of sexual desire should be directed towards an individual person.
Once we have these three, we can ask how certain practices – masturbation, pornography, sex with minors, fetishes, open relationships, casual and impersonal sex, necrophilia, sex with sex dolls, and on – either hinder or help the development of habits that help us actualize natural and thus non-perverted sexual desire that is reciprocal, non-transferable, and directed towards a person.
What is meant by sexual perversion?
Know that most philosophers argue that everything which unnatural is not automatically immoral (natural law theorists, however, typically disagree).
Why would we want to understand what is natural and unnatural about sexuality? What did St. Thomas Aquinas say about homosexuality and why did he say
Why does Thomas Nagel disagree with Aquinas on homosexuality and why does he disagree?
What would St. Thomas Aquinas say about forms of fetishism and why would he say it?
Thomas Nagel agrees with Aquinas that various forms of fetishism are immoral. But he disagrees with Aquinas’ reasons for why such practices are immoral. How are Nagel’s reasons for seeing fetishism as immoral different from Aquinas’ reasons?
Know the difference between two broad approaches to sexual morality, namely, natural law approaches and liberal ethics approaches.
What do to the people who claim “consent is sufficient” argue when it comes to sexual morality?
What do to the people who claim “consent is notsufficient” argue when it comes to sexual morality?
Know that our analysis of sexual morality will typically include an investigation into general and fundamental concepts such as voluntary, sexual activity, sexual desire, sexual sensation, and sexual perversion. It will also typically include efforts to understand less abstract concepts such as prostitution, pornography, and rape.
This week please take up one of these options for reflection: 1) Take some issue that falls under sexual morality (procreation, contraception, celibacy, marriage, adultery, casual sex, flirting, prostitution, homosexuality, masturbation, seduction, rape, sexual harassment, sadomasochism, pornography, bestiality, and pedophilia) and provide an argument, using at least one of the normative ethical theories we considered, for or against it. If you really want to provide arguments for AND against it, that is fine too. 2) In your reading you will encounter the debate between those who think that, when it comes to sexual morality, consent is enough and those who think consent is not enough. Reflect on this debate, get the facts right, and then and offer your views on the issue. Please provide at least one argument in defense of your position using one of the normative theories we considered.
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