RELG 271 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Sexual Repression, Interdisciplinarity, Dream Interpretation

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RELG 271
Lecture 3
Freud’s Critique of Sexual Morality
Difference between ethics and morality
-Moral values: what is right, and what is wrong (ex. against abortion) — can change
-Ethical values: ethical principles that one follows (ex. everything must be discussed rather
than killing each other) — unable to have a conversation with someone who had different
ethical principles
-Doesn’t mean that the same decision will always be made, but not as changing as morality
Use of problematic words (morally charged) though they are used as neutral words
-Our language does the thinking for us — importance of language
Ex. Consent — until recently people believed that sexual consent was obvious
-“No means no” — we now know that it is not as simple as no
-How much consent do we have?
-Can you still justify your sexual consent after 2/3/4… glasses of wine?
The word consent has so many meanings, it is difficult to distinguish between the various types
of consent
Question of sexual culture reveals a lot about said culture
-Ethical question: what is the way we do or talk about sex, have to do with the way our society
is organized — the moral values of our society?
-We need a multi disciplinary approach to sexuality: ethically, religious, philosophical, legal,
psychological…
“No one can write a single history of sexuality”
-Dependent upon people’s beliefs and practises; human sexuality is very diverse and hard to
pin down to one definition
There is no distinction between sexual liberation, and sexual repression
-What does it mean to be sexually liberated?
-What does it mean to be sexual repressed?
The response to sexuality is unreliable
- Sexual liberation as an idea must be rethought — too naive to democratize sex
Problem with human theory: reading human nature into a set of practises
Psychoanalysis: a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental
disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind,
and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind but techniques such as
dream interpretation
-We have unconscious thoughts and desires — can know something, but do not know exactly
what that is
-Freud forces people to think about themselves = makes them very uncomfortable
Freud is a theorist of the mind — questions how it is shaping people
-Influential in modern culture: Inception
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