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Morgan - Sex in the Head.docx

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Ronniede Sousa

- Sexual desire as aiming at bodily pleasure rests on the flawed assumption that sexual pleasure has the same uniform physical character in all sexual encounters - This rests on flawed assumptions in the philosophy of mind - Morgan conceives of persons as embodied minds - He thinks the nature of the sexual pleasure we take in the body of another can be transformed by the significance the person or situation has for us - Sexual desire and pleasure result from intentionality, which is our belief about the object of our desire and the acts in which we are engaging - This influences the amount and quality of our pleasure - The plain sex view is that humans experience through sex intense physical sensations which are extremely pleasurable and these feelings are the object of our desire - When we want intercourse with another person, what we really want are those physical feelings - Sexual desire is satisfied when those feelings are experienced and optimal when those feelings are intense (orgasm), and frustrated when pleasure is not achieved - Sexual pleasure and desire are physical, even if emotional pleasure exists during the sex act - Morgan calls Goldman’s account the reductionist view of sex - Morgan says this view rests on a mistaken connection between our mind and our embodiment - Some sexual desires should not be indulged in, even if everyone involved consents - Intentionalist accounts such as Nagel’s view that interpersonal intentionality is important to understand desire - Sexual desire isn’t an appetite but a recognition of one’s partner and his arousal, which one then responds to - Positions pointing to intentionality point to the desires we sometimes have for just one specific person - Only accounts that give primacy to intentionality can account for this - The advocates of the plain sex viewpoint point to casual sexual encounters where people don’t care about their partners, prostitution, or masturbation - These arguments rest upon the assumption that sexual pleasure is uniform - Primoratz says reductionists and intentionalists identify a genuine phenomenon of human sexuality but focus obsessively on that particular chosen phenomenon - Aristotle says all animal action is rooted in desire - Non-human action is rooted in a desire, seeing how one can fulfil that desire, and fulfilling it - Humans who are rational are able to consider their desires and consider which ones are appropriate to gratify, and they can transform their desires so that they adhere to reason - Reductionists say human sexuality is simply a quelling of an appetite (in Aristotle’s language, epithumia) - This assumes that the phenomenon is simple and uniform and doesn’t transform itself when it interacts with a subjective being - We must understand how our minds and bodies interact - The intentionalists see that there are some sexual phenomena that we cannot understand unless we understand our mental perception and behavior - We must understand that sexual significance is subjective and the extent to which any individual’s sexual pleasure is bound up in reciprocity and mutuality varies - We are “essentially embodied minds” which means that we cannot understand our physical sensations in a separate sphere than our mental elements or our mental states in abstraction from our embodiment - Sexual desire is not essentially meaningful, but is open to significance Part 1: - Morgan argues against Goldman’s theory that wanting sex is merely wanting the physical pleasure that sex brings and intentionalist accounts that posit interpersonal intentionality as the purpose of sex - Reductionists see sex as simply the quelling of a physical appetite, which assumes that one is not affected by the interaction he has with another sentient being - Intentionalists assert that sex must have some sort of interpersonal mutuality, and the
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