Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Philosophy of Sex

Few nonphilosophers would know this (although some might suspect it), but there's a substantial and sophisticated body of literature on the philosophical dimensions of sex (as in sexual intercourse). This should come as no surprise, since sex is an important aspect of human experience. One of my published essays, on statutory rape, was reprinted in a philosophical anthology entitled Human Sexuality, edited by Igor Primoratz (Aldershot, England: Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1997). Part I of this anthology, on "The Nature of Human Sexuality," contains essays on sex and procreation, sex and love, sex as a language, plain sex, and sexual perversion. Part II, on "Issues in Sexual Morality," contains essays on homosexuality, prostitution, sexual harassment, and rape. Primoratz, who is a first-rate analytic philosopher, is the author of Ethics and Sex (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), which I reviewed (favorably) in the Journal of Applied Philosophy. Another excellent work, by perhaps the foremost philosopher of sex in the English-speaking world, is Alan Soble's Sexual Investigations (New York and London: New York University Press, 1996). You may wish to visit Soble's website, which is loaded with intellectually provocative material. If you're interested in something less academic than this, see here.

The New York Times on Homosexual Marriage

In an editorial of this date (see here), The New York Times supports a federalist approach to homosexual marriage. Let each state decide how to define "marriage." What the Times doesn't discuss, however, is the possibility (probability?) that the United States Supreme Court will force every state to recognize homosexual marriage. Am I alone in being concerned about this? Am I cynical (or overly cynical) in thinking that the Times secretly hopes for such a ruling?

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