Tuesday, October 16, 2012



Course taught: Philosophy of Sex and Gender, Spring 2012: http://philosophyofsexandgender.blogspot.com/

Nathan Nobis, Ph.D., Morehouse Philosophy,  www.NathanNobis.com

Philosophy typically concerns conceptual issues (what is X?) and moral/evaluative issues, and builds on science.
 A philosophical issue is not necessarily an “important” issue and vice versa: not all “important” issues are philosophical.

Entry on Philosophy of Sexuality: “Among the many topics explored by the philosophy of sexuality are procreation, contraception, celibacy, marriage, adultery, casual sex, flirting, prostitution, homosexuality, masturbation, seduction, rape, sexual harassment, sadomasochism, pornography, bestiality, and pedophilia.”  http://www.iep.utm.edu/sexualit/

Challenges:
-          Philosophy of sex is not an incredibly mainstream set of topics, but becoming more popular in mainstream philosophy!! J
o   Not a lot on “masculinity” (next time: have students develop their own content on the various different ways to “be a man” and an evaluation of different ways of being)
o   not a lot of argumentatively philosophical writings concerning racial dimensions of these issues.
-          Finding appropriate level – i.e., accessible – readings and books that are more reasonably priced. (book: Rethinking Masculinity: mostly geared toward professionals).
-          A lot of mere speculation about various preferences, practices, prevalence of various beliefs, etc.

A response to certain (religious) perspectives that might be appealed to end discussion, from Socrates:
Either there are reasons behind a (religious) perspective on an issue or not.
If not, then it’s arbitrary. (No)
If there are, then we can identify those reasons and discuss and evaluate them. (Yes)

Improved plan for next time:
(1)    focus more on concrete questions in sexual ethics: would doing X be wrong or not, and why? [concern: a repeated “liberal” answer: if nobody is harmed and everyone consents, then doing X isn’t wrong],
(2)    use a better  text (such as below) even if a bit expensive,
(3)    have students develop philosophical content that currently might not exist.

The Philosophy of Sex - 6th Edition , Rowman & Littlefield, October 2012 • $59.95
Featuring twenty-nine essays, thirteen of which are new to this edition, this best-selling volume examines the nature, morality, and social meanings of contemporary sexual phenomena. Topics include sexual desire, masturbation, sex on the Internet, homosexuality, transgender and transsexual issues, marriage, consent, exploitation, objectification, rape, pornography, promiscuity, and prostitution.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Alan Soble, The Analytic Categories of the Philosophy of Sex
Part I: Analysis and Perversion
Chapter 2: Greta Christina, Are We Having Sex Now or What?
Chapter 3: Thomas Nagel, Sexual Perversion
Chapter 4: Janice Moulton, Sexual Behavior: Another Position
Chapter 5: Alan Goldman, Plain Sex
Chapter 6: Alan Soble, On Jacking Off, Yet Again
Chapter 7: Seiriol Morgan, Sex in the Head
Chapter 8: John Portmann, Chatting is Not Cheating
Part II: Queer Issues
Chapter 9: Stanley Kurtz, Beyond Gay Marriage: The Road to Polyamory
Chapter 10: Cheshire Calhoun, In Defense of Same-Sex Marriage
Chapter 11: Claudia Card, Gay Divorce: Thoughts on the Legal Regulation of Marriage
Chapter 12: William S. Wilkerson, What Is "Sexual Orientation"?
Chapter 13: Kayley Vernallis, Bisexual Marriage
Chapter 14: Talia Mae Bettcher, Trans Women and the Meaning of “Woman”
Chapter 15: Christine Overall, Trans Persons, Cisgender Persons, and Gender Identities
Part III: Objectification and Consent – The Theory
Chapter 16: Thomas A. Mappes, Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person
Chapter 17: Howard Klepper, Sexual Exploitation and the Value of Persons
Chapter 18: Alan Soble, Sexual Use
Chapter 19: Ann J. Cahill, Why "Derivatization" Is Better Than "Objectification"
Chapter 20: Alan Wertheimer, Consent and Sexual Relations
Chapter 21: Robin West, The Harms of Consensual Sex
Chapter 22: David Benatar, Two Views of Sexual Ethics: Promiscuity, Pedophilia, and Rape
Part IV: Objectification and Consent – Applied Topics
Chapter 23: Martha C. Nussbaum, “Whether from Reason or Prejudice": Taking Money for Bodily Services
Chapter 24: Raja Halwani, On Fucking Around
Chapter 25: Lois Pineau, Date Rape: A Feminist Analysis
Chapter 26: H. E. Baber, How Bad Is Rape?—II
Chapter 27: Susan J. Brison, Surviving Sexual Violence
Chapter 28: Joan Mason-Grant, Pornography as Embodied Practice
Chapter 29: Nicholas Power, Cheap Thrills: A Call for More Pornography
A Bibliography of the Philosophy of Sex

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