Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings / Edition 5

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For three decades, Alan Soble has supplied the authoritative roadmap for students and faculty who study the subject of sex. In this new fifth edition of The Philosophy of Sex, Soble and co-editor Nicholas Power have collected thirty contemporary essays that explore philosophically, conceptually, and theologically the nature, social meanings, and morality of contemporary sexual phenomena. Contributors address myriad topics, including cybersex and the Internet, masturbation, contraception, sexual perversion, gay and lesbian sexuality, same-sex marriage, casual sex and promiscuity, pedophilia, rape and date rape, sexual use and objectification, sexual relationships between teachers and students, pornography, and prostitution. NEW to this edition: Each of the thirty essays is preceded by an informative introduction written by the two editors and each essay is followed by a set of provocative study questions developed by the editors to stimulate critical thinking about sexuality. Contributing authors, some of whom were commissioned for this new edition, include Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Nagel, Alan Goldman, John Finnis, Sallie Tisdale, Jerome Neu, Robin West, Louise Collins, Alan Wertheimer, Greta Christina, John Corvino, Cheshire Calhoun, Raja Halwani, Yolanda Estes, and others. The editors provide a comprehensive bibliography of over 700 philosophical and general readings in sexuality. Intended in part as a textbook for use in university courses in the philosophy of sex, gender, and ethics, the book is also a valuable resource for researchers in sexuality and a reader-friendly introduction to puzzles about sexuality for anyone who enjoys exploring this ubiquitous human experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Levine
This seminal collection of classic and contemporary essays reveals sex for what it is — philosophically interesting and very important. It forces sex and philosophy out of the closet where it engages freely, licitly, and seriously with normative ethics, metaphysics and issues in social and political philosophy. It is not all you want to know, or not know, about sex (even cybersex), but it's a great start and sure to raise your temperature.
John Kleinig
The leading textbook in the field has just gotten better — reorganized, friendlier, updated, and with a goldmine of resource options. No one knows the field better than Soble, and he has been ably supported in this revision by someone who teaches in the field.
Sarah Hoffman
Still the best anthology on the market, Soble's The Philosophy of Sex in its new 5th edition has been somewhat thematically simplified into four sections which more clearly reveal the interconnections between topics in the field. The updated set of essays includes the important seminal essays on the metaphysics and morality of sex as well as recent contributions on issues such as cybersex, virtue ethics and sex, and sexual relationships in academia. Students and instructors will find especially attractive the new addition of summaries and study questions for each essay. All scholars and students of the philosophy of sex will want to have this book in their collections.
Timothy F. Murphy
Sex influences everything: our identities, social practices, medicine and the law. Yet nothing so important to human life is so poorly understood. The Philosophy of Sex goes a long way to making things clearer. This is a smart book, full of key issues and debates of the day, debates about who we are and how we relate to one another. Everyone has something to learn about sex, and everyone will learn something from this book.
Revising about a quarter of the last edition, Soble (philosophy, U. of New Orleans) presents 30 readings, constituting a survey of philosophical musings on sex, sexuality, and sexual morality. Designed to serve as an introductory survey text for undergraduate courses, the text includes readings that frequently disagree in analysis and theoretical basis. The volume is organized into six sections addressing conceptual analysis, homosexuality, abortion, Kant and sex, rape and harassment, and pornography and prostitution. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742547988
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/19/2007
  • Edition description: 5th Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 552
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Power is associate professor of philosophy at the University of West Florida (in Pensacola, Florida) and has published on the philosophy of science and of mind as well as evolutionary theory. Now teaching courses in the philosophy of sex and love, of science, and of mind, and chairing a department of philosophy and religious studies, he received his dissertation from Temple University, hails originally from Kilkenny, Ireland, the city of Berkeley and Swift, and shares their scatalological outlook. His two daughters, Hannah (b. 1992) and Molly (b. 1998), don't. Alan Soble, who has taught the philosophy of sex and love more than fifty times in his career, is Professor Emeritus and University Research Professor of the University of New Orleans, from which he retired in 2007. Now teaching the philosophy of sex and love, and other courses, as an adjunct at several schools, he is the editor of the 2-volume Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia (Greenwood, 2006) and author or editor of another dozen books on sex and love. Some of his journal articles and book chapters have been reprinted abroad, translated into German, Hungarian, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Chinese. After Katrina in August 2005, he and his daughters scattered: Rebecca Jill (b. 1969) has been spending time in the Middle East, mostly in Turkey, while Rachel Emoke (b. 1993) resettled in Milwaukee. Many of Soble's articles and reviews can be found on his web site,, and some of his provocative views about sex and love are expressed in his contributions to Amherst College's question-and-answer web site,, for which he serves as a panelist.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Part I. Analysis and Perversion Chapter 2 Chapter 1. The Analytic Categories of the Philosophy of Sex Chapter 3 Chapter 2. Are We Having Sex Now or What? Chapter 4 Chapter 3. Sexual Perversion Chapter 5 Chapter 4. Sexual Behavior: Another Position Chapter 6 Chapter 5. Plain Sex Chapter 7 Chapter 6. Masturbation, Again Chapter 8 Chapter 7. Sex Chapter 9 Chapter 8. Is Cybersex Sex? Part 10 Part II. Homosexuality and Reproduction Chapter 11 Chapter 9. The Wrong of Homosexuality Chapter 12 Chapter 10. Homosexuality and Infertility Chapter 13 Chapter 11. Periodic Continence Chapter 14 Chapter 12. In Defense of Homosexuality Chapter 15 Chapter 13. Beyond Gay Marriage: The Road to Polyamory Chapter 16 Chapter 14. In Defense of Same-Sex Marriage Chapter 17 Chapter 15. Sexual Identity and Sexual Justice Part 18 Part III. Use, Objectification, and Consent - the Theory Chapter 19 Chapter 16. Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person Chapter 20 Chapter 17. Sexual Exploitation and the Value of Persons Chapter 21 Chapter 18. Sexual Use Chapter 22 Chapter 19. Consent and Sexual Relations Chapter 23 Chapter 20. The Harms of Consensual Sex Chapter 24 Chapter 21. Two Views of Sexual Ethics: Promiscuity, Pedophilia, and Rape Chapter 25 Chapter 22. Virtue Ethics, Casual Sex, and Objectification Part 26 Part IV. Use, Objectification, and Consent - Applied Topics Chapter 27 Chapter 23. Prostitution: A Subjective Position Chapter 28 Chapter 24. "Whether from Reason or Prejudice": Taking Money for Bodily Services Chapter 29 Chapter 25. Pornography as Embodied Practice Chapter 30 Chapter 26. Talk Dirty to Me Chapter 31 Chapter 27. Pornography and the Social Sciences Chapter 32 Chapter 28. Power, Sex, and Friendship in Academia Chapter 33 Chapter 29. Antioch's 'Sexual Offense Policy': A Philosophical Exploration Chapter 34 Chapter 30. AH! My Foolish Heart: A Reply to Alan Soble's "Antioch's 'Sexual Offense Policy': A Philosophical Exploration." Part 35 Suggested Readings

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