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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 2, Issue 2, June 2001

The Philosophy of Love and Sex

Alan Soble
Pages 37-54

Sexual Use and What To Do About It
Internalist and Externalist Sexual Ethics

I begin by describing the hideous nature of sexuality, that which makes sexual desire and activity morally suspicious, or at least what we have been told about the moral foulness of sex by, in particular, Immanuel Kant, but also by some of his predecessors (e.g., Augustine) and by some contemporary philosophers. A problem arises because acting on sexual desire, given this Kantian account of sex, apparently conflicts with the Categorical Imperative. I then propose a typology of possible solutions to this sex problem and critically discuss recent philosophical ethics of sex that fall into the typology's various categories.

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