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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2012

Robert William Fischer
Pages 17-31
DOI: 10.5840/pcw201219113

Why Incest is Usually Wrong

I contend that there are strong moral reasons for most adult family members to avoid having sex with one another; indeed, I argue that even among consenting adults, incestuous sex is usually wrong. The argument is simple. Absent compelling reasons, it's wrong to take a significant risk with something that's extremely valuable. But having sex with a family member takes a significant risk with something extremely valuable—namely, a family relationship. And since compelling reasons for taking such a risk are very hard to come by, it follows that incest is usually wrong.