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Lecture 8

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University of Toronto St. George
De Sousa

Lecture 8 – October 2013 Sex and Love Summary of last week - Soble’s analysis of masturbation - Four approaches to mortality and sex o Natural law o Utilitarianism o Virtue ethics o Deontology - Is there a specific sexual morality o What is it that makes moral questions especially difficult to answer when sex is in question - Kantian sex - Goldman’s view on masturbation Kantian morality without sex phobia st - The categorical imperative 1 formulation: hard to apply directly, but it’s a demand of rationality for differences to justify different treatments o Can’t necessarily give answer to specific question but use as a challenge nd - The 2 formulation is a key principle of respectful human relations of all kinds o Treat any rational being not merely as a means but as an end - It can apply to sex as well as everything else Kant captures something crucial - Nakedness is vulnerability (cf. Giles) o Sex puts you in a vulnerable position - You don’t need to agree with Kant’s default response to sex as “abominable” to feel sex is denuding emotionally as well as physically - Hence lack of respect (deontological notion) can be experienced as harm (consequentialists notion) and so diminish rather than enhance our capacity for thriving (a virtue ethics demand) o Lack of respect cause harm o Can diminish self-respect and then in turn diminish potentiality to thrive as a human being Theories of Love In Vannoy - Barrel “tenderness vs. objectness o Attitudes towards partner - John Lee’s 6 “colors of love” and types of lovers: Lecture 8 – October 2013 Sex and Love o Eros (romantic passionate love), Storgic (friendship), Manic (possessive dependent), Ludic (game playing love, for fun), Pragma (shopping list love, things required), Agapic (selfless love) o Only the Storgic Eros type “seems to fulfill the requirement o humanistic sex: he has idealism, personal warmth, tenderness, and a sense of self sacrifice for the beloved’s happiness” (Vannoy) Another general theory - Robert Sternberg: “triangular” theory : three components: (8 combinations) o Passion (infatuation, passion alone), Intimacy (liking, intimacy alone), Commitment (empty love, commitment love) Sex Love and Chemistry - Genetics, evolutionary psychology, brain science, have something to say about the origins of love - Powerful emotional bonds improve the chance of survival for helpless children o Programmed innately o Genetic differences are associated with different patterns of attachment and affiliation Distinct brain/chemical systems (Fisher 1998, 2004) (4 different phases of love) - Lust of “sex”: immediate drive to mate o Typical duration: minutes/hours o Main brain chemistry: androgens - Limerence: obsessive, exclusive thoughts; anxious craving for presence, reciprocation o Typical duration: weeks or months (3/4 max.) o Brain chemistry: catecholamine (epinephrine, dopamine) (drive excitement) - Attachment: infantile – historically elaborated  Derived from early infancy and the bond developed with the caretaker o Typical duration, indefinite: years o Brain chemistry: oxytocin, vasopressin - Affiliation: the social glue of friendship  Estrogen and oxytocin o More as liking than loving o Slight attachment o Does not require erotic interest The Prairie and Montnae Vole Story - Prairie voles are monogamous: dopamine generated by a single compluation restructures the nucleus accumbens - The Montnae voles are promiscuous, and not affected in the same way by dopamine Lecture 8 – October 2013 Sex and Love - By manipulating a single gene in the Montnae vole, scientists have produced the prairie vole behaviour, and vice versa o Being monogamous controlled by single gene o Humans have restraint  Prove that there is a want to be promiscuous but exercise restraint  Why would you want to restrain something that you want Nature or Nurture - Those facts about chemistry suggest “nature” o Limerence, has been observed in over 170 societies, with no gender differences - But culture can change chemistry - Any culture has an ideology of love, that decrees how the 4 systems are supposed to relate o Norms that govern sexuality in all societies (highly different) - Ideology works by claiming to attend just to “natural facts”, but correcting them with norms o Ideological bait and switch - Strong tendency to go along with the idea of natural theory o Bait and switch strategy o Not everything that happens are accounts of nature  Go in a correct  Nature intends some sort of differentiation Ideology confuses different forms
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