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Lecture 6

Philosophy 34-129 Lecture 6: Lecture Notes on Marriage & Family

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Department
Philosophy
Course
34-129
Professor
Mark Letteri
Semester
Fall

Description
Wasserstrom (Adultery)  Adultery means cheating in marriage  Two opening considerations: o Promise breaking and deception are wrong prima facie o Is adultery (any case of extramarital sex) necessarily immoral?  Is sex outside of marriage wrong?  he thinks this is an open question  Adultery as the breaking of an especially solemn vow  Breach of reciprocity might appear doubly unfair  Pain of apparent indifference (pain on the one who’s being cheated)  Thus, certain kinds of adultery might be wrong  Passive deception vs. active deception o Active deception  lying o Passive deception  not mentioning the deception  Deception is wrong generally, but must adultery involve deception?  Traditional association between sex and love  Deception on a deeper level?  Demystification of sex  Extra martial” sex  a betrayal of deep culture norm  If a serious relationship is based on shared feelings and these feelings are missing from one partner, Wasserstrom says there is always some level of deception  Possibility of non-exclusive love  Non-deceptive extramarital sex permissible morally?  Practical role of traditional sexual morality  Practical benefits are instrumental (not moral) considerations, so again adultery not necessarily wrong Joseph  Polygamy is practical  One person will be tired with all the workload and raising children, so why not have another person for help? Bennett & Sullivan  Bennett o If we follow gay marriage (sexual relativism), we must allow all non-traditional arrangements o The ideal of heterosexual monogamy has served society well o Burden of proof on these who propose change o “Natural teleology”  propagation and sustenance of species  Sullivan o Homosexuality is a deeply rooted personal orientation (unlike polygamy, which is not innate) o Gay marriage is not relativistic – indeed, it preserves the ideal of monogamy o Myth of societal demise o If gay men tend toward promiscuity, then marriage is the solution (Promiscuity  causal, sexual relationships) Steinbock  Surrogacy  planned pregnancy for the sake of another couple  Paternalistic arguments o Protecting surrogates from choices they might regret insufficient to establish prohibition (they do not relinquish autonomy)  Moral objections o Not necessarily exploitive o Not necessarily an infringement of human dignity  Privacy concerns o Pre-natal adoption agreements should be enforceable just as post-natal ones are o Good screening, counselling, waiting periods  Harm to others Posne
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