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Download Ethics and Sex by Igor Primoratz PDF

By Igor Primoratz

Ethics and intercourse offers a scientific examine of the character and ethical importance of human sexuality and of the foremost concerns in sexual morality.

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He then claims that it is also the essential purpose of sex; thus sex turns out to be a type of language. Since masturbation does not have this purpose, it is considered not fully sexual, a borderline case at best. However, interpersonal communication is not the essential purpose of language: we talk to ourselves, use language to fill out embarassing silences, or to play a part in a ritual. These are perfectly regular linguistic activities, although the first is not an instance of interpersonal communication, while the second and third are not cases of communication at all, actual or intended.

Sex as such has no moral import, positive or negative; particular sexual experiences or acts are accorded moral standing solely on the basis of considerations extrinsic to sex. To be sure, sexual pleasure, like other pleasures (or most of them, at least), is a good; but it is not a good endowed with moral significance. If there is an ethical doctrine implying that, since sexual pleasure is a good, the possibility of producing or amplifying such pleasure in oneself or another person entails a moral requirement to do so, so much the worse for that doctrine; for the suggestion is clearly ridiculous.

He proposes to explain the pleasure of sex with strangers by the tension and excitement involved. 18 This hardly takes care of the objection; indeed, it rather seems that Solomon is conceding the point. 19 This generates another anomaly. Commercial sex is in the overwhelming majority of cases quite impersonal; indeed, its impersonality is one of the standard moral objections to it. How, then, are we to understand prostitution? Now none of this is meant to deny the great communicative potential of sex, nor the value of pointing this potential out.

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