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Chapter 4

PHL 304 Chapter 4: Chapter 4; Sexuality

Course Code
PHL 304
Krecz Charles

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Sexuality Morality and Same Sex Marriage
Conventional Sexual Morality
Sex is morally legitimate only within the bounds of marriage
o Non-marital sex is immoral: both between single people, and adulterous
Common defense: Social utility
o A stable family life is essential for the proper raising of children and the
consequent welfare of society as a whole. Limitation of sex to marriage is
a necessary condition of forming and maintaining stable family units. It
reinforces the loving relationship between husband and wife, exclusivity
will convince people to marry and stay married, and unavailability of
extramarital sex will keep marriages strong.
o Criticisms
Stable family units are not essential
Availability of nonmarital sex does not undercutfamily life
Premarital sex can prepare one for marriage
Natural Law Theory
o Associated with Thomas Aquinas
o Actions are morally appropriate insofar as they accord with our nature and
end as human beings and morally innapropriate insofar as they fail to
accord with out nature as human beings
o Procreation is natural end of sexual activity
o Any sexual act that cuts off the possibility of procreation is contrary to
nature, even within marriage
o Criticisms
It is not clear that sexual activity cannot legitimately serve as other
important human purposes (love, pleasure)
The Liberal View
Reject conventional claim that nonmarital sex is immoral, and is immoral if it cuts
off the possibility of procreation
Reject nonconventional claim that sex without love is immoral
Some sexual activity may be identified as immoral because it involves one person
inflicting harm on another
o Seduction of a minor, rape
“Using a person” – violating voluntary informed consent
No sexual activity is immoral unless a well-established moral rule or principle is
The Sex With Love Approach
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Find conventional sexual morality unjustifiably restrictive yet inclined to stop
short of granting moral approval to the promiscuity that is found morally
acceptable on the liberal view
Sex without love reduces a humanly significant activity to a merely mechanical
performance, which leads to fragmentation of the human personality
Different views as to whether the love must be an exclusive love
o If it must be exclusive, then successive sexual liasons are not
o If nonexclusive, then it is presumed a person is capable of loving several
persons. Simultaneous love affairs are not objectionable
Allows for sexual freedom in a way that avoids the alleged dehumanizing effects
of mere promiscuity
Sexual Morality and Feminist Critique
Conventional sexuality emobodies a norm of “compulsory heterosexuality”, is
linked with an inegalitarian conception of marriage and traditional sex rules and
thus is deeply implicated in the oppression of women
Disagreement oral legitimacy of sadomasochistic sexual practices
Challenge the idea that secual relationships can be genuinely consensual if there
are significant social inequalities between the two sexual partners
Homosexuality and Morality
Liberal maintains that homosexual sex is no more immoral in itself than
heterosexual sex. Others reject conventional sexuality, but disapprove of
Is repulsive and offensive, given over to promiscuity, make streets unsafe for
children, a perversion, threatens to undermine social fabric
Same Sex Marriage
Purposes that underlie the institution of marriage
o Procreation and raising of children = dominant
Societal acceptance of same-sex marriage would have detrimental social
o Undermine the institution of marriage, destrtuctive to family structure and
family values, and harmful to children
Denial of equality, discrimination
Sexuality Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person, Thomas A. Mappes
“using another person” = voluntary informed consent
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A is guilty of sexually abusing B if and only if A intentionally acts in a way that
vilates the requirement that B’s sexual interaction with A be based on B’s
voluntary informed consent
Neither nonmarital sex or sex without love is immoral, but that doesn’t mean
there are no substantive moral restrictions on human sexual interaction.
The Morally Significant Sense of “Using Another Person”
o Associated with ethical system of Immanuel Kant
It is morally wrong for A to use B merely as a means to achieve
A’s ends
Coercion and deception
o Occurent coercion: use of physical force
o Dispositional coercion: threat of harm
Deception and Sexual Morality
o A child is incapable of informed consent. Mentally handicap person is
incompetent to give consent
o One persons consent to sex is predicated on false beliefs that have been
intentionally and deceptively inculcated by one’s sexual partner in an
effort to win the former’s consent
o Witholding of information
Coercion and Sexual Morality
o Obliterates consent or undermines voluntariness of consent
o Forcible rape can be occurent or dispositional
o Threat: coerces consent. Offer: induces consent
Does it make a person worse off? If yes, a threat. If no, an offer.
Depriving someone of which they are entitled: a threat
The Idea of a Coercive Offer
o AN offer is not coercive just because it is extremely enticing
o Severly constrained by needs, you have to give in. Taking advantage of a
desperate situation.
Sexual Exploitation and the Value of Persons, Howard Klepper
Agrees about the centrality of voluntary informed consent, bt denies that
obtaining consent is morally sufficient
Can still be treated as a mere means even if one has provided voluntary informed
Be considerate of and respectful toward one’s partner during and after sex
Obligation to be respectful and considerate of our sexual partner’s needs
Disrespectful to reveal intimate information
For agreements to be implied, both parties need to be aware of norms, so they can
be assumed to be incorporated into partie’s agreement
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