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Kant & Schwartz

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Dalhousie University
PHIL 2170
Samantha Copeland

Monday, March 14, 2011 (Meredith Schwartz) Immanuel Kant: Sex & Moral Agency “Duties Towards the Body in Respect of the Sexual Impulse” Thesis: Do we have any moral duties regarding sex? Can sex be good of bad? Context: History of inequality, enlightenment’s equality Kant’s Argument: Sexual impulse is unique – objectification Discussion: Do you agree with Kant’s view? Context: Pre-Enlightenment – Royalty chosen by God; Honour only upwards; Divine rights Enlightenment: All men are equal; Equal respect; Human rights Noumenal: Equal Value: Dignity (rational self – persons) Moral Agency: Free will; Rationality; Autonomy Relation of Others: Interactive; Treat other as a person Phenomenal Unequal Value: Price (animal self – humans) Mind and Body: Determined; Psychological Laws; Physical Laws Relation of Others: Objective; Treat other as a thing Kant’s Argument: Overview: • Sexual impulse is unique: Turns one person into an object for another’s enjoyment • Sexual Desire is Objectifying: Treats other as a thing • Aims at Sex not at Person • Needs to be controlled: Modesty & Marriage Kant’s Argument: Objects: • Sexual desire is objectifying o Not love – directed at person o Only appetite: directed at things o Once satisfied, cast other aside • Degrades human nature o Treats other as a thing; doesn’t engage free will or rationality Kant’s Argument: Aims at Sex • Love: an inclination: No distinction between types of persons • Sex: an appetite o Not directed at person o Directed at their sex o Proof: Sexual attraction only to opposite sex – emphasis on body o To
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