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Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love

Robert M. Stewart

Publication Date - February 1995

ISBN: 9780195080315

352 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $84.99

Featuring the work of thinkers from antiquity to the modern era, this eclectic anthology presents many and varied perspectives on sexual roles and norms, eroticism, pornography, feminism, prostitution, perversion, friendship, and familial love.


Despite the centrality of sexuality and love to human life, western history's great philosophers have not produced anything like a detailed and systematic approach to these matters. From Plato's emphasis upon the importance of eros, to the insistence by today's feminists on gender equality, philosophy's interpretation of eroticism and love has been as diverse and explosive as the subject itself. It is this imposing variety of approach and interpretation that makes a lucid, comprehensive anthology on the subject essential.
Reflecting the trend over the last twenty years to examine more thoroughly the nature of love and sexuality within a philosophical context, this eclectic anthology presents numerous perspectives on sexual roles and norms, eroticism, pornography, feminism, prostitution, perversion, friendship, and familial love. Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love is the most up-to-date appraisal of these central human experiences, featuring the work of thinkers from antiquity to the modern era. On the subject of erotic love, the text offers insight from Plato's Symposium, as well as the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Nozick, and Robert C. Solomon. There are also reflections on sexual perversion from Thomas Nagel, Jerome Neu, and Michael Ruse. The views of Aristotle and contemporary authors on the morality of friendship and family are presented in a section wholly devoted to those issues, while David Hume and Immanuel Kant investigate the ethics of sexuality in selections from their writings. Care has been taken to present different positions on the most controversial issues, and most selections are offered in their entirety. Invaluable for courses in social philosophy, sexuality, social ethics, and feminism, no other volume can give students a more comprehensive discussion of love's countless dimensions.

Table of Contents

    I. Sex Roles, Equality, and Social Policy
    From The Subjection of Women, John Stuart Mill
    "On the Future of Love: Rousseau and the Radical Feminists", Elizabeth Rapaport
    "On Sexual Equality", Alison Jaggar
    "Feminist Ethics and Feminist Politics: Treating Women as Sex Objects", Linda LeMoncheck
    "What is Feminism?", Michael Levin
    "A First Look at the Pornography/Civil Rights Ordinance: Could Pornography be the Subordination of Women?", Melinda Vadas
    "A Second Look at Pornography and the Subordination of Women", William Parent
    "Should Feminists Oppose Prostitution?", Laurie Shrage
    "Moral Criticism and the Social Meaning of Prostitution", Robert Stewart
    II. Sexual Norms and Ethics
    "Freud and Perversion", Jerome Neu
    "Sexual Perversion", Thomas Nagel
    "Is Homosexuality Bad Sexuality?", Michael Ruse
    "Sadomasochism: An Ethical Analysis", J. Roger Lee
    "Of Chastity and Modesty", David Hume
    "Duties Towards the Body in Respect of Sexual Impulse; Crimina Carnis ", Immanuel Kant
    "In Defense of Promiscuity", Frederick Elliston
    "Is Adultery Immoral?", Richard Wassertrom
    "On the Nature of Rape", John H. Bogart
    III. Erotic Love
    From Symposium, Plato
    From "The Metaphysics of the Love of the Sexes", Arthur Schopenhauer
    "Don Juan's Secret", Søren Kierkegaard
    "First Attitude Toward Others: Love, Language, Masochism", Jean-Paul Sartre
    From "The Woman in Love", Simone de Beauvoir
    "Appraisal and Bestowal", Irving Singer
    "Reconciling Eros and Agape", Alan Soble
    "Love's Bond", Robert Nozick
    "The Virtue of (Erotic) Love", Robert C. Solomon
    IV. Friendship and Familial Love
    From Nicomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX, Aristotle
    "The Circumstances of Justice: Pluralism, Community, and Friendship", Veera Kapur Badhwar
    "Paternalism and Friendship", Ellen Fox
    "Why Lovers Can't Be Friends", James Conlon
    "The Duties of Grown Children", Jeffrey Blustein
    "What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?", Jane English
    "Parents, Children, and Friends", Anthony Graybosch