Presentation on theme: "Sexual Behavior. Possible Sexual Moralities No sex without— Marriage and desire to procreate Marriage Marriage or engagement Long-term commitment Love."— Presentation transcript:
Possible Sexual Moralities No sex without— Marriage and desire to procreate Marriage Marriage or engagement Long-term commitment Love Considerable affection Affection beyond the physical Attraction Respect Consent
Russell’s Utilitarianism “The question whether a code is good or bad is the same as the question whether or not it promotes human happiness.”
Crude Utilitarian Argument Sex produces pleasure The more pleasure a situation includes, the better it is So, the more sex, the better
Complications But things are not so simple There are also negative effects of sexual activity
Central Problem Conflict between impulse to jealousy and impulse to polygamy
Traditional Morality Traditional morality gives priority to jealousy But social conditions promoting that are changing: greater mobility decline in superstition and religion greater privacy higher education levels, postponing marriage greater equality between men and women
Nature vs. Nurture Impulses to jealousy and polygamy have instinctual and conventional features. Russell's assumptions: impulse to polygamy is largely instinctual impulse to jealousy is largely conventional Polygamy: nature Jealousy: nurture
Implicit argument Pleasures from sexual variety are part of biological heritage and do not change Pains from jealousy can largely be eliminated Russell’s conclusion: impulse to polygamy should have priority
Russell’s assumptions Nature —> Polygamy Nurture —> Jealousy What is natural can’t be changed What comes from nurture can be changed But are these right? Compare the IQ debate: Even if IQ is mostly inherited, it can be stunted or developed Even if IQ is mostly environment-shaped, we may not be able to affect it
What does Russell want? Women should not have children before age 20 Young people should have sexual freedom At least a decade of sexual maturity before marriage-- can't expect celibacy over such a long period Better to have relations with people of same class than resort to prostitutes Sexual experience needed to distinguish love from lust
What does Russell want? No fault divorce: without children, by consent of one partner; with, by mutual consent Sexual relations should be free of economic taint; women should work ("An idle wife is no more intrinsically worthy of respect than a gigolo.")
Family Russell: the obligations of fathers are chiefly financial As economic equality between the sexes increases, these will be less important Consequence: The patriarchal family will disappear; marriage will be for the rich and the religious.
Sexual Morality? Is there a distinctively sexual morality? No No uniquely sexual virtues No uniquely sexual principles Just the ordinary rules about honesty, kindness, justice, etc.
Utilitarian Arguments for Traditional Morality Callahan: Promotes women's sexual flourishing It promotes monogamy, self-control, love, commitment This protects women at every stage of life: protects young women from rape and seduction secures adult women male support in child-rearing protects older women from abandonment
Negative consequences Epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases Epidemic of infertility Widespread abortion Pornography Sexual abuse Adolescent pregnancy Divorce Family breakdown Crime Displaced older women (First Wives' Club)
Respecting Autonomy Categorical Imperative Respect people Treat people as ends-in- themselves Don’t use people
Using people Objection: We use people all the time Examples: trade, employment
Autonomy Respecting people - -> respecting autonomy Mappes: Don’t use others without their voluntary, informed consent
Agency An agent of an act is Free Competent Informed Using someone is denying them agency So, using a competent adult is Denying freedom: coercion Denying information: deception
Coercion: Threats If you don’t do what I want, I’ll bring about an unpleasant consequence for you Attempt to coerce consent Makes target worse off on noncompliance Examples?
Threats: problems Form: If you don’t _______, I’ll ________ Noncompliance --> unpleasant consequence Noncompliance --> worse off But note: these aren’t the same Unpleasant, but better off? Pleasant, but worse off?
Offers If you do what I want, I’ll bring about a pleasant consequence for you Attempt to induce consent The target is no worse off on noncompliance Examples?
Offers: problems If you ______, I’ll ______ Compliance --> pleasant consequence Noncompliance --> no worse off But can’t an offer leave you worse off, even if you don’t comply?
Mappes’s Kantianism Offers are OK Threats are not
Problems Beneficial threats Bad offers Attempts to coerce attention? Whining? Pestering? Alcohol or drugs? Weakening of will? Offer + power --> implicit threat
Deception Lying Withholding information Problems Feigning interest Not correcting false assumptions Exaggerations
Mappes’s morality Sexual relations OK if There is no deception There is no coercion Not needed: Marriage Love Commitment Affection Attraction
Prostitution? Mappes: prostitution OK if no coercion, deception But prostitution seems like a paradigm of using someone Categorical imperative: don’t use people! Kant himself disapproves “I used her, she used me, neither one cared….”
Exploitation Kant opposes paternalism Respect for people --> respect for autonomy So, no coercion or deception But respect also requires more You can use people by exploiting them So, no exploitation
What is exploitation? Transactions require appropriate concern Exploitation is interaction without the required level of concern Exploitation is not caring about the person as a person (not just as a moral agent) Respectful desire is wanting someone for who he/she is
Scruton's Aristotelian Account Love has incomparable value Part of what it is to live well is to love and be loved. Freud: psychic health: "to love and to work"
Love as a virtue Capacity for love is a virtue. Sexual desire is not morally neutral It is fulfilled in love
Habits We must form correct habits To channel sexual desire To promote the capacity for love rather than stunt it
Traditional sexual morality Traditional sexual morality develops the right habits for sexual virtue It encourages Chastity Fidelity Union of sex and love
Jealousy and fidelity Both desire and modesty are natural Jealousy is catastrophic and inevitable Fidelity is natural and normal No society or common sense morality promotes promiscuity or infidelity
Sexual Desire Sexual maturity involves incorporating sexual desire into one's personality
Mean between extremes Sexual virtue is a mean: Too littleFrigidity VirtueSexual integrity Too muchLustful promiscuity
Sexual virtue Sexual virtue is desiring the right person, at the right time, in the right circumstances, for the right reasons It may manifest itself as chastity, fidelity, or passionate desire, depending on circumstances.
Sexual virtue How to develop sexual virtue? Chastity: confines lust to intimate relations impedes impulse until it can lead to fulfillment in love encourages respectful desire, wanting person not merely for body but for person who is this body unites personal and sexual, self and body, desire and affection
Flaws Destructive of sexual virtue: Perversion (improper object) Fantasy Pornography Lust (desire without regard for object) All these alienate a person from his/her body
Capacity for love Love is a good Love is a crucial part of happiness Giving in to certain desires makes one less capable of loving That is a grave harm
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