The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 24682

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
Interests: philosophy of sex and love; moral, social, and political philosophy; political philosophy; philosophy of art

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The philosophy of sex and love (including non-romantic kinds) is a growing area of research, and it is fast on its way to becoming a recognized separate field in philosophy. Both sex and love are important for human beings, and our ability to understand and handle them well is necessary if we are to live well-lived lives. Both sex and love are varied and raise a myriad of conceptual, analytical, ethical, aesthetic, legal, and pracitical issues (among others) that lend themselves to philosophical inspection. Moreover, sex and love can be discussed together or separately (an interesting philosophical question in itself), or in connection with issues surrounding various forms of relationships.

We are pleased to invite you to contribute essays to a special issue of Philosophies, titled “The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love.” The aim of the special issue is to demonstrate the fecundity of the philosophy of sex and love by publishing original papers spanning the breadth of this topic. Research areas might include, but are by no means limited to: the nature of sexual desire; the relationship between sexual desire and moral character; the ethics of sexual activity; the nature and ethics of sexual orientation; the various forms of love; love and morality; sex and technology; pornography; sex work; love and technology; the relationship between sex and love; consent; objectification; sex and emotions; sex and virtue; love and virtue; love and other emotions; sex and/or love and gender; sex and/or love and race; sex and/or love and feminism; sex and/or love and aesthetics; or the nature and ethics of relationships. Submissions may, of course, draw on other fields of philosophy, and on non-philosophical fields.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Raja Halwani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • friendship love
  • parental love
  • relationships
  • romantic love
  • sexual activity
  • sexual desire
  • sexual orientation

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Moral Partiality and Duties of Love
by Berit Brogaard
Philosophies 2023, 8(5), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8050083 - 13 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1288
Abstract
In this paper, I make a case for the view that we have special relationship duties (also known as “associative duties”) that are not identical to or derived from our non-associative impartial moral obligations. I call this view “moral partialism”. On the version [...] Read more.
In this paper, I make a case for the view that we have special relationship duties (also known as “associative duties”) that are not identical to or derived from our non-associative impartial moral obligations. I call this view “moral partialism”. On the version of moral partialism I defend, only loving relationships can normatively ground special relationship duties. I propose that for two capable adults to have a loving relationship, they must have mutual non-trivial desires to promote each other’s interests or flourishing and to respect each other’s core values. Along the way, I critically ascertain three alternative accounts of what normatively grounds special relationship duties and argue that my proposed view avoids the problems plaguing the alternatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
17 pages, 303 KiB  
Article
Pansexuality: A Closer Look at Sexual Orientation
by Arina Pismenny
Philosophies 2023, 8(4), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8040060 - 14 Jul 2023
Viewed by 4262
Abstract
‘What is ‘sexual orientation’ for?’ is a question we need to answer when addressing a seemingly more basic one, ‘what is sexual orientation?’. The concept of sexual orientation is grounded in the concepts of sex and/or gender since it refers to the sex [...] Read more.
‘What is ‘sexual orientation’ for?’ is a question we need to answer when addressing a seemingly more basic one, ‘what is sexual orientation?’. The concept of sexual orientation is grounded in the concepts of sex and/or gender since it refers to the sex or gender of the individuals one is sexually attracted to. Typical categories of sexual orientation, such as ’heterosexual’, ‘homosexual’, and ‘bisexual’, all rely on a sex or gender binary. Yet, it is now common practice to recognize sex and gender categories that transcend the binary. Should our sexual orientation categories be revised to reflect sex and gender diversity? Drawing on the example of pansexuality, I argue that they should. The reason is that one aim of reconstructing the concept of sexual orientation—in addition to the epistemic goal of understanding—should also be political: it should make it easier to argue for the protection of those who have been marginalized or discriminated against because their sexual attraction is other than heterosexual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
16 pages, 305 KiB  
Article
The Goal of Sexual Activism: Toleration, Recognition, or Both?
by Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen
Philosophies 2023, 8(4), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8040057 - 29 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1951
Abstract
Sexual activism (for, e.g., participants in the LGBT+ or BDSM communities) is prima facie commendable, at least for the liberal. However, it is unclear whether the end goal of such activism is toleration or recognition. The argument of this paper is that, [...] Read more.
Sexual activism (for, e.g., participants in the LGBT+ or BDSM communities) is prima facie commendable, at least for the liberal. However, it is unclear whether the end goal of such activism is toleration or recognition. The argument of this paper is that, on the level of authoritative political and social-moral rules, toleration is the only justifiable goal, while recognition may be pursued as an ideal outside the sphere of political and social-moral rules, that is, in civil society. The argument builds on a Gausian public reason understanding of justifiability, emphasizing reasonable disagreement and a diversity of viewpoints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
12 pages, 430 KiB  
Article
Prolegomena to the Study of Love
by Alan Soble
Philosophies 2023, 8(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8030044 - 17 May 2023
Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Consider this propositional function which includes the dyadic predicate “loves”: “X does not love Y unless Y loves X” (or “if Y does not love X”). This function may be treated in four ways. (1) If universally quantified, it states [...] Read more.
Consider this propositional function which includes the dyadic predicate “loves”: “X does not love Y unless Y loves X” (or “if Y does not love X”). This function may be treated in four ways. (1) If universally quantified, it states a (purported) conceptual truth about “love” or the nature or essence of love. Love is necessarily reciprocal. (2) If universally quantified, it may alternatively be a nomological generalization stating an empirical or factual truth about human nature, i.e., about a pattern of reciprocity that occurs among people who are independently identified as lovers. (3) If instantiated with constants, it is an empirical proposition about the attitudes or behaviors of particular individuals (a, b, c). Finally, (4) the function may be treated axiologically; it expresses a normative judgment about what love ought to be or what lovers ought to feel or do. Other propositional functions may be constructed for the constancy, exclusivity, and benevolence of love. This essay investigates the implications of these understandings of the function and how they are logically related to each other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
15 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Should We Want to Be Loved Unconditionally and Forever?
by Troy Jollimore
Philosophies 2023, 8(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8020034 - 31 Mar 2023
Viewed by 3860
Abstract
People often say that romantic love should be unconditional, and they often want romantic love to last forever. These claims and desires are presumably linked: part of the reason it would be good for love to be unconditional is that it is assumed [...] Read more.
People often say that romantic love should be unconditional, and they often want romantic love to last forever. These claims and desires are presumably linked: part of the reason it would be good for love to be unconditional is that it is assumed that such love, being detached from changing conditions, would last forever. This article argues that there are, indeed, kinds of unconditional and permanent love that are worth wanting, but also kinds that are not, and attempts to clarify just what it is that is valuable about these kinds of romantic love. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
19 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Is Casual Sex Good for You? Casualness, Seriousness and Wellbeing in Intimate Relationships
by Aaron Ben-Ze'ev
Philosophies 2023, 8(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8020025 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5869
Abstract
Enduring romantic love is highly significant for our wellbeing, and there is much scientific evidence for its value. There is also evidence that marital sex is important for the flourishing of wellbeing for both partners. Casual sexual relationships and experiences (CSREs) are often [...] Read more.
Enduring romantic love is highly significant for our wellbeing, and there is much scientific evidence for its value. There is also evidence that marital sex is important for the flourishing of wellbeing for both partners. Casual sexual relationships and experiences (CSREs) are often characterized in a non-normative way, as sexual behavior occurring outside a committed romantic relationship. However, the prevailing normative description is negative, perceived as superficial behavior that harms our wellbeing. Although sexual activities are linked to many psychological and physical health benefits, these are rarely attributed to casual sex. Instead, scholars and laymen have warned against the negative consequences of non-committed sex, particularly for women. Yet, positive reactions to casual sex, such as satisfaction, confidence, self-knowledge and social engagement, are stronger and more common than negative reactions. Accordingly, the two major aims of this article are to understand the complexity of CSREs better, and to substantiate the claim that in various circumstances, CSREs contribute to our wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
16 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
Beyond Consent: On Setting and Sharing Sexual Ends
by Jordan Pascoe
Philosophies 2023, 8(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8020021 - 7 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2180
Abstract
This paper formulates a response to standard accounts of Kantian sexual morality, by first clarifying why sex should be understood as a case of using a person as a thing, rather than merely as a means. The author argues that Kant’s remedy to [...] Read more.
This paper formulates a response to standard accounts of Kantian sexual morality, by first clarifying why sex should be understood as a case of using a person as a thing, rather than merely as a means. The author argues that Kant’s remedy to this problem is not sexual consent, but a model of setting and sharing sexual ends. Kant’s account of sexual morality, read in this way, is a critical framework for contemporary moves to think beyond consent, and to grapple with concerns about sexual violation and “bad sex” that have gained uptake in the wake of the MeToo movement. The author defends an account of sex as a process of setting and sharing sexual ends in a Kantian key, which provides us with resources for thinking about the robust ongoing project of making our sexual selves in nonideal conditions, as well as for identifying the wrongs of both “bad” sex and sexual harassment. In doing so, they offer a critical middle ground between contemporary accounts of sexual morality that center questions of individual agency or autonomy, and those that foreground the intersubjective nature of sex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)

Review

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20 pages, 279 KiB  
Review
Review of the “Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality”
by Raja Halwani
Philosophies 2023, 8(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8020030 - 24 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2547
Abstract
This paper is a review essay of the recently published Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality, edited by Brian D. Earp, Clare Chambers, and Lori Watson (2022). The anthology consists of an introduction and 40 essays, and it has eight [...] Read more.
This paper is a review essay of the recently published Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality, edited by Brian D. Earp, Clare Chambers, and Lori Watson (2022). The anthology consists of an introduction and 40 essays, and it has eight parts: (I) What Is Sex? Is Sex Good?; (II) Sexual Orientations; (III) Sexual Autonomy and Consent; (IV) Regulating Sexual Relationships; (V) Pathologizing Sex and Sexuality; (VI) Contested Desires; (VII) Objectification and Commercialized Sex; and (VIII) Technology and the Future of Sex. The anthology contains essays mostly by philosophers and a few by non-philosophers (which can be a double-edged sword for a philosophy book). Some essays survey a topic, while others defend specific theses. I argue that the quality of the essays varies, but that all are thought-provoking. Although the essays that deal with sexual orientation and race tend to be on the weaker side, those that deal with technology, objectification, incest, pedophilia, sex work, and the regulation of relationships are on the strong side. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophical Richness and Variety of Sex and Love)
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