PhilosophicalSexual EthicsTommi PaalanenCentre of Excellence in Sexual Health EducationJAMK University of Applied SciencesDepartment Social Studies (Philosophy)University of Helsinki
What is sexual ethics? Theoretical approach Critical assessment Universal methods of ethical evaluation Practical approach Case studies Professional ethics Sexual politics Intersects with Social and political philosophy Gender and queer studies, power analysis Multidisciplinary sexology Legislation
Basic questions 1. Which acts are sexual? 3. What kinds of sexual acts are morally acceptable or unacceptable? 5. Are prevailing sexual norms and legislation justified? 7. What kinds of sexual acts the community may justifiedly ban? 9. Which conditions may justify patronising an individual in sexual matters?
Sexual activity? Touching certain body parts? A list of different acts? Reproduction? Reproductive form? Sexual intention? Fulfilling certain desires? Pleasure? Is there any exhaustive definition?
Sufficient conditions An extended open-ended definition: Sexual activities are activities that produce certain kind of pleasure OR are connected to them by similarity AND there is an intention to do something sexual
Traditions Religious ethics Natural law Romatic-conservative ethos Love and marriage Kantian sexual ethics Treating persons as ends Against all kinds of exploitation Liberal sexual ethics Individual autonomy Contractualism
Elisabeth Ohlson WallinEcce Homo Ecce Homo Exhibition
Basics of liberal sexual ethics 1 John Stuart Mill: Harm Principle The liberty of an individual may be restricted only to prevent harm to others wrongfully setting back one’s intrests (Joel Feinberg) Wrongful = not justified Harm to self vs. harm to others
Basics of liberal sexual ethics 2 Basic rights Autonomy Inviolability (integrity) Contractualism Voluntary informed consent Individual sexual liberty diversity of practice Liberalism is not a personal value choice, but a meta-value that is necessary for upkeeping plural society
Criticism Should we accept all dubious acts only because they are seemingly non-harmful? When is paternalism justifiable? Leftist critique of contractualism Structural inbalance of power Feminist critique Power relations based on gender Pathriarchal society Hidden inequality
Controversial feminism Racical feminism Abolish patriarchy! End heterosexuality! Conservative feminism Sex-negative politics: exploitation is everywhere Liberal feminism Rewriting cultural scripts: empowerment Women as autonomous sexual subjects Humanist (scientific) feminism Studying gender systems Disclosing previously ignored perspectives Ethics of care
Common fallacies Legalism ”Law or rules tells us what is right or wrong” Conservatism ”Common norms tell us what is right or wrong” Authoritarianism ”Moral leader or public opinion…” Subjectivism ”Personal feelings, preferences or disgust…” Moralism ”Certain moral ideals…”
Ethical evaluation Intentions information and comprehension ACT also omission Violating Consequences also rights serious risk Wrongfully caused but not harm nuisance or displeasure
Sexual ethics in practice Respecting individual autonomy Keeping up neutrality Sexual activities are morally neutral Distinction between sexual preference and act Ideological impartiality Building justified sexual politics Coherent and evidence-based No prohibition of any consensual activity Promoting sexual rights…
…also when it means the rights of a queer transvestite sadomasochist Declaration of Sexual Rights: World Association for Sexual Health www.worldsexology.comPicture: Qumma Art
Thank email@example.com Carolyn Weltman: A la Kama Sutra