Love, Sex and Marriage: a Philosophical Introduction / Edition 1

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How is love different from lust or infatuation? Do love and marriage really go together "like a horse and carriage"? Does sex have any necessary connection to either? And how important are love, sex, and marriage to a well-lived life? In this lively, lucid, and comprehensive textbook, Raja Halwani pursues the philosophical questions inherent in these three important aspects of human relationships, exploring, the nature, uses, and ethics of romantic love, sexuality, and marriage.

The book is structured in three sections:


begins by examining how romantic love differs from other types of love, such as friendship and parental love. It asks which properties of love are essential, whether people have a choice in whom they love, and whether lovers have moral obligations to one another that differ from those they owe to others.


demonstrates the difficulty in defining sex and the sexual, and examines what constitutes good and bad sex in terms of pleasure, "naturalness," and moral, permissibility. It offers theoretical and applied ethical approaches to a wide range of sexual phenomena.


traces the history of the institution, and describes the various forms in which marriage exists and the reasons why people marry. It also surveys accounts of why people should or should not marry, and introduces the main arguments for and against gay marriage.

Features include:

Suggestions for further reading

online eResource site with downloadable discussion questions

a clear, jargon-free writing style.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Raja Halwani tackles these important subjects with characteristic energy, incisiveness, and wit. Even where you disagree with him, you learn from him. This book deserves a wide audience.'John Corvino, Wayne State University, USA

'Skillfully combines meticulous philosophical analysis of contemporary romantic and sexual mores with vivid, earthy examples of the problems and permutations of actually living them.'Jane O'Grady, City University London, Times Higher Education

'A provocative and immensely helpful introduction to this area ... I recommend it.' – Christian Perring, Metapsychology Online Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415993517
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/31/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 564,465
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Raja Halwani is Professor of Philosophy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of Virtuous Liaisons: Care, Love, Sex, and Virtue Ethics, the editor of Sex and Ethics: Essays on Sexuality, Virtue, and the Good Life, and the co-author (with Tomis Kapitan) of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Philosophical Essays on Self-Determination, Terrorism, and the One-State Solution.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1

Part I Love 5

1 What Is Love? 7

Three Types of Love 7

Characterizing Romantic Love 9

Romantic Love as an Emotion 12

Generally Necessary Features of Romantic Love 18

Romantic Love and Infatuation 24

Summary 27

Notes 28

Further Reading 28

2 Romantic Love 29

Aristophanes on Union 29

Nozick, Sable, and Solomon on Union 32

Romantic Love and Robust Concern 39

Sex and the Durability of Romantic Love 48

Summary and Conclusion 55

Notes 56

Further Reading 56

3 The Basis of Romantic Love 57

Socrates's Speech in Praise of Love 57

Loving for Reasons 60

What Do We Love? Properties of the Beloved 77

Different Types of Properties and Love's Durability and Depth 82

Summary 87

Notes 88

Further Reading 88

4 Love and Morality 89

Love and Morality 89

Moral Restrictions on Love 102

The Prudentiality of Love 111

Summary and Conclusion 119

Notes 120

Further Reading 120

Part II Sex 121

5 What Is Sex? 123

Defining Sexual Acts 123

Defining Sexual Desire 130

Defining Sexual Pleasure 135

Casual Sex, Adultery, and Prostitution 139

Notes 151

Further Reading 152

6 Sex, Pleasure, and Morality 153

Sexual Pleasure and other Values of Sex Acts 153

Consequentialism and Sex 161

Virtues, Vices, and Sex 177

Summary and Conclusion 184

Notes 185

Further Reading 185

7 Sexual Objectification 186

What Is Sexual Objectification? 186

What Is Morally Wrong with Sexual Objectification? 189

Nussbaum on Objectification 194

Soble on Objectification 197

Kant and Objectification 200

Women and Pornography 210

Summary and Conclusion 224

Notes 225

Further Reading 226

8 Sexual Perversion and Fantasy 227

Sexual Perversion 227

Fantasy 250

Notes 255

Further Reading 255

Part III Marriage 257

9 What Is Marriage? 259

Defining Marriage 259

Monogamy 264

Notes 274

Further Reading 274

10 Controversies over Same-Sex Marriage 275

Preliminaries 275

The Natural Law Tradition 276

The Slippery-Slope Argument 284

The "Undermining Marriage" Argument 293

Richard Mohr's Argument for Same-Sex Marriage 294

Cheshire Calhoun's Argument for Same-Sex Marriage 297

Claudia Card's Argument against Same-Sex Marriage 300

The Assimilation and Cultural Injustice Arguments against Same-Sex Marriage 305

The Political Question 310

Conclusion 312

Notes 312

Further Reading 313

Concluding Remarks 314

Bibliography 316

Index 327

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