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Nagel - Sexual Perversion.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL243H1
Professor
Ronniede Sousa
Semester
Winter

Description
- For there to be sexual perversions, we must assume that there are sexual desires or practice that are unnatural - Certain practices like fetishism and bestiality will be perversion if anything is, while others such as missionary sex will not be, and others will be contentious - If there are perversions, they will be unnatural inclinations rather than just unnatural practices adopted for reasons other than inclination, so contraception , even if it perverts the reproductive function, cannot be a sexual perversion because a sexual perversion is a sexual preference - The connection between sex and reproduction has no bearing on sexual perversion, because reproduction is psychological while sex is physiological - Sexual perversion also cannot be defined as what is acceptable in a specific society, since adultery isn’t unnatural and thusly isn’t perverted but is still frowned upon for other reasons - If one were skeptical about the existence of sexual perversions, one might say that sexual desire is simply an appetite like hunger or thirst that may have various objects that may be common or uncommon but not natural or unnatural – when we identify something as sexual, it is a neutral term, although we can say that some activities such as sadism are bad on other grounds such as hurting people – one can’t qualify or classify sexuality; it just is what it is - But even if we accept sex as an appetite, like hunger or thirst, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s neutral and doesn’t lend itself to perversions - For example, if someone preferred eating pictures of food instead of real food, we might call this a food related fetish and thus a perversion - The object is irrelevant; only the psychological state is important for classification purposes - The object of sexual attraction is a particular individual who transcends the individual properties that make him attractive - The object of our desire is the individual, not the specific traits - Sexual desire involves a perception, but not merely a single perception of its object because when desire is mutual there are perceptions of oneself through the eyes of the loved one - Let’s say a man and a woman, Romeo and Juliet, are sitting on opposite ends of a cocktail lounge with many mirrors on the wall that permit mutual observation - At some point Romeo notices Juliet and is moved by the softness of her hair and the way she sips her drink and this arouses him sexually - We can say that X senses Y when X regards Y with sexual desire - So Romeo senses Juliet rather than simply noticing her - He is aroused by her even though she is not aroused by him, so he is in a more sexual physical state than she is - But let’s assume that Juliet now also senses Romeo, and now he notices that she is becoming arouses - His arousal is still solitary, but once he realizes that she is observing him and their desire is mutual, and thus senses that she is sensing him, then he is embodied not only in himself but also through the eyes and reactions of another - This is separate from the original sensing of Juliet because it stems from one sensing her is being sensed and recognizing the desire of another for
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