- An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.
- Sexual Ethics
- Why Sexual Ethics Matter
- Sexual Ethics - Bibliography - PhilPapers
Some are reinterpreting or critiquing biblical texts that have been used to prohibit divorce, to oppose lesbians, to keep women silent in the church or to require married women to obey their husbands and slave women to obey their owners. Others are reexamining traditional Christian theology.
Still others are working on domestic violence, child sexual abuse among Christians, reproductive freedom, the health of sex workers and AIDS prevention among women. In all cultures, consensual sexual intercourse is acceptable and virtuous within marriage; however some cultures do exist in which sexual intercourse is controversial, if not totally unacceptable outside of marriage. As the philosopher Michel Foucault has noted, such societies often create spaces or heterotopias outside of themselves where sex outside of marriage can be practiced.
He reasoned that this was the reason for the often unusual sexual ethics displayed by persons living in brothels, asylums, onboard ships, or in prisons. Sexual expression was freed of social controls in such places whereas within society, sexuality has been controlled through the institution of marriage which socially sanctions the sex act. Many different types of marriage exist, but in most cultures that practice marriage, extramarital sex without the approval of the partner is often considered to be unethical.
There are a number of complex issues that fall under the category of marriage. When one member of a marital union has sexual intercourse with another person apart from the union without their consent, it may be considered to be infidelity.
In some cultures this act may be considered ethical if the spouse consents, or acceptable as long as the partner is not married, while other cultures might view any sexual intercourse outside of marriage as unethical, with or without consent. Furthermore, the institution of marriage brings up the issue of premarital sex wherein people who may choose to at some point in their lives marry, engage in sexual activity with partners who they may or may not marry. Various cultures have different attitudes about the ethics of such behavior, some condemning it while others view it to be normal and acceptable.
An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.
Most societies disapprove of a person in a position of power to engage in sexual activity with a subordinate. This is often considered unethical simply as a breach of trust.
When the person takes advantage of a position of power in the workplace, this may constitute sexual harassment, because subordinates may be unable to give proper consent to a sexual advance because of a fear of repercussions. Child-parent incest is also usually seen as an abuse of a position of trust and power, in addition to the inability of a child to give consent. Incest between adults may not involve this lack of consent, and is therefore less clearcut for most observers.
Many professional organizations have rules forbidding sexual relations between members and their clients.
Examples in many countries include psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, doctors, and lawyers. In addition, laws exist in many places against this kind of abuse of power by priests, preachers, teachers, religious counselors, and coaches.
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- Outline of sexual ethics.
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We grasp the value of marriage, both as a form of interpersonal communion unique in terms of both intensity and comprehensiveness and, inseparably, in terms of its relationship to procreation. Theoretical knowledge of the natural biological ordering of our sexual faculties toward procreation does not help us to grasp this value or enable us to provide a stronger defense of it.
A basic knowledge of biology, as well as decent exemplars of married life, can help us recognize the relevant possibility , but, as Aquinas makes clear ST I-II, q. The insight that marriage as described above is an intrinsically valuable good to-be-pursued is a first and, as such, immediate and underived principle of practical reason, known to anyone who is aware of the relevant possibility and is not blinded by bias, partisanship, or some other sub-rational factor.
Why Sexual Ethics Matter
Having grasped this value at least in an inchoate way, we are then in a position to understand the fully human biological, to be sure, but not just biological purpose of our sexual faculties, and to understand marriage and not simply biological reproduction as the telos of the sexual aspect of our nature. This grasp of marriage as a basic human good is the principle that provides the rational foundation for the moral norms that govern our sexual conduct.
And the ends of our nature in its various dimensions biological, intellective, relational, moral, etc. New natural law theory, therefore, in no way implies a denial of natural teleology on any level.
Sexual Ethics - Bibliography - PhilPapers
What it does deny is that we can discover the natural ends of our human faculties through theoretical reasoning alone. However, because we are not brute animals, but rational animals, the natural ends of our faculties including our biological faculties are not merely biological ends. Rather, they are intelligible goods that we discover through the insights of practical reason. Anderson, focused on new natural law theory. Philosophy , Sexuality. September 23, September 23, By Melissa Moschella. Nothing of the sort is true. Finnis on the Good of Marriage The new natural law approach to sexual morality begins with an account of marriage as a basic human good, i.
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