The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 22, Issue 4, Winter 2022

John Skalko
Pages 689-710

The Perverted Faculty Argument Is Still Sound
A Reply to Melissa Moschella

In a 2019 article and a 2022 article published in this journal, Melissa Moschella argues that new natural law (NNL) sexual ethics is sound and that old natural law sexual ethics fails. In her view, all non-reproductive type sexual acts are morally wrong because they are both contrary to the basic good of marriage and involve degrading the body as a mere instrument for pleasure. She also critiques the perverted faculty argument (PFA) as found within the work of Edward Feser as unsound. Here I argue that a proper understanding of the PFA as found within the writings of Thomas Aquinas easily avoids her objections and that the argument of Thomas has a distinct advantage over the pleasure argument insofar as it can ground the badness of such actions universally