Sexual Ethics

  • Created by: Francesca
  • Created on: 27-01-13 11:16


Categorical Imperative-Universal Law, Humans are an ends not a means to an end, Kingdom of ends. Kant's understanding of human sexuality is complex. Kant understands sex to be capable of stimulating the best and worst in Human Beings. Marital sex-"sexual union in accordance with principle". Masturbation-"loathsome, an act of degredation below that of the animals". Adultry, Homosexuality, contraception-unable to universalise. The pursuit of sexual pleasure is only allowed when serving more valuable goals, such as marriage. The Kantian viewpoint seems to be that sexual acts are wrong in themselves. Kant emphasises the contractual nature of sexual relationships and seems to find sex morally acceptable as long as one person is not using the other. Some forms of prostitution would be allowed, although not  if people engage against their will or are harmed. Strengths- An objective argument so the guidlines are clearly set out, if one person is used-no good. If everyone can't do it-no good. Based on Reason. Humans have intrinsic worth and dignity. Weaknesses-many people would consider that thinking about the result of an action is an important part of making decisions about morality. Only works if everyone has the same view about the final end and purpose of humans. Does not tell us what to do in individual circumstances, very generalised.

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Virtue Ethics

Relativist, Moral choices from the stand point of the individual and his or her personalqualities, virtues and ideals. Focus on our telos, purpose and how we should act to be useful and potent in society. Temperance-Controlling sexual urges, having sex but not being celebate. Right-sexual relationships that make a person more virtuous, monogamous homosexual relationships. Wrong-prostitution, masturbation, peadophillia. UNLESS masturbation controls sexual urges, if so it is virtuous. Emphasis on individual situation. Balence on human sexuality. Rosalind Hursthouse-Virtue ethics implies that an action is right if it is what a virtuous erson would charicteristically do. We are responsible for our character and the moral choices we make. Virtue ethics also urges us to rediscover balence in human sexuality and in our relationships. Strengths-Avoids a formula like the Hedonic Calculus. Distigushes between a good person and a law abiding person. Makes it important to be a good person.Sees it as good to be biased towards our friends. Weaknesses-Are Virtues culturally relative? It doesn't give clear rules. Difficult to decide who is virtuous.

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Natural Law

Cicero-"True law in agreement with nature". Laws that determine our nature. Reason allows us to know our purpose. What seperates us from animals. Primary precepts:W(orship) O(rder) R(eproduction) L(earning) D(efend the defencless). Any action the fulfils WORLD is right. Based on eternal Law-Law from God revealed in scripture. Genesis "Be Fruitful" "one flesh". Aquinas concluded that the use of sexual organs is limited to procreation and anything else is "intrinsically wrong"  and had to take place inside of marriage. Sexual acts can be wrong even if natural "conflict with right reason may arise from the nature of the act with respect to the other party"-Incest, ****, Adultry. Strengths-clear cut and objective. Natural Law is common to all cultures. Doesn't just dictate what should be done in individual circumstances. Weaknesses-Finds it difficult to relate complex decisions to basic principles. G.E. MOORE naturalistic fallacy-"You cannot derive an ought from an is". Aquinas works from general principles to lesser purposes and his view of human nature is unholistic and too simple.

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Situation Ethics

Relativist, subjective. Agape: Pragmatism, Positivism, Personalism, Relativist. Where love is best served. NOT intrested in the intrinsic value of sex. Mrs Bergemeir-sacraficial adultry-AGAPE. Divorce-most pragmatic thing. Personalism-putting children first. Prostitution-enables women to make money. Contraception-ok. It seeks equal treatment of everyone and acts out of love. Situation ethics can only condenm any aspect of a sexual relationship when there isn't a presence of Agape. However, it is not easy to apply in situations where strong emotions and physical drives take over.

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'Utility'-telos, not intrinsic, usefulness. Act-'pleasure'-Hedonic Calculus 'P(urpose) E(xtent) P(urity) C(ertainty) I(ntensity) D(uration) F(ucundity)'. Utilitarian reasons for having sex: the value of pleasure, the contribution which shared pleasure makes to the value of a relationship, that consensual sex creates much good, and, if harm to another person is avoided, provides the greatest happiness to the greatest number. Utilitarians want a happy society and sexual pleasure is an important element of human happiness, so ultilitarians want to maximise the good things about sex and relationships while minimising their downside. Libitarian-do what they want. Masturbation is permissible, homosexuality and bisexuality can be tolerated although if it were the social norm, it would be harmful. BENTHAM-mutual consent for pleasure cannot make any sex wrong if both partners are willing. MILL-This should be a matter of personal choice, without state interference however we should seek higher pleasures. Strengths-Utilitarianism allows morality to change from age to age, situation to situation. There are no necessary rules bar one:do the thing that will make the most number of people happy. Weaknesses-Difficult to predict consequences, potential to justify anything, no defence for minorities.

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We are created in the image and likeness of God. God sees everyone as equal, man and woman together "one flesh". Marriage is the ideal place for sex. "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh". Man and woman were equal until the fall when man will "rule over woman". Sex is the union of men and womenin "one flesh". Sex focuses on the relationship of the man and the woman. The song of songs-old testament passionate love poems. Sex is positive thing as long as God and the Bible are concerned. Celibacy allowed christianity to distinguish itself from other religions. Leviticus-"man shall not lie with man as he lies with woman" condeming homosexuality? Possibly OR OR OR saying man shall not degrade himself to take the position of a woman? Sexual pleasure is a gift from God BUT only in a hetrosexual marriage. Strengths-Divine law, law from God, clear rules of when are where sex is ok. Weaknesses-out of date, translations about homosexuality may mean homo, or prostitution, or being a ****. Almost all christians ignore Leviticus' rules bar the one on homo-using bible to reinforce prejudices.

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Dualism-Pythagrous-world is divided. Sex is unholy as you lose control of yourself.

Intrinsically good-Aristippus. physical pleasure are the most important things as it leads to sensual enjoyment.

Forms-Plato-Chastity is prefeered to sexual activity.

Tolerate as an evil-St Augstine of Hippo-A married couple must "descend with a certain sadness" worse if you do it for pleasure. Augustine's dilemma-sexual desire is not controlled by the will. Lust is a consequence of original sin.

Gift from God-Pelagius-Human sexuality is a gift from God. Sexual in positive terms. Sex is only evil if abused.

Jewish attitudes-Woman "owned" by men. Women just another property. Essential a woman is a virgin. In some middle eastern countries hymen reconstruction is a common operation.

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20th Century

Fear of getting pregnant "out of wedlock" of getting caught having pre-marital or extra-marital sex, they were celebate, fear of infection from stds.

Unfounded fears such as "masturbation makes you blind"

Sex in whatever form fine as long as it's private-Singer.

Adultry is wrong, but not a crime. Prommisciuity is wrong, but not a crime.

Libertarian view-sex shouldn't be linked to marriage. Human freedom is important here.

Femenist-CHURCH IS WRONG-make woman a possesion and don't allow them the freedom to have sex when they like BUT LIBERTARIAN IS WRONG as it makes it women sexual objects and don't let women say no to sex.

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