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Introduction to "The Philosophy of Love and Sex"

1 June 2001


Love and sex provide a fertile ground for philosophical inquiry, both conceptual analysis of the nature of love and sex and discussion of the many ethical issues that they raise. Moral issues arising from love include the permissibility of romantically loving more than one person at the same time (assuming that this is even possible) and the moral value of romantic love and friendship. Moral issues arising from sex vary from the most fundamental question—the one addressed by Alan Soble in his paper in this issue—of whether sex can be reconciled with respect for persons, to questions about the permissibility of sex in particular circumstances. Much current work in philosophy of love and sex concerns precisely such issues in applied ethics, for instance the topics addressed by the authors of four more papers in this collection—homosexuality, prostitution, relationships that cross power lines in academia, and the wrongness of rape and other sexual misdeeds. Other ethical issues about sex include the morality of casual sex, adultery and open marriage, sadomasochism, and pornography.


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