Sex And Reason / Edition 1

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Overview

Sexual drives are rooted in biology, but we don't act on them blindly. Indeed, as the eminently readable judge and legal scholar Richard Posner shows, we make quite rational choices about sex, based on the costs and benefits perceived.

Drawing on the fields of biology, law, history, religion, and economics, this sweeping study examines societies from ancient Greece to today's Sweden and issues from masturbation, incest taboos, date rape, and gay marriage to Baby M. The first comprehensive approach to sexuality and its social controls, Posner's rational choice theory surprises, explains, predicts, and totally absorbs.

Posner's rational choice theory is the first comprehensive approach to sexuality and its social controls. Drawing on the fields of biology, law, history, religion, and economics, this sweeping study examines societies from ancient Greece to today's Sweden and issues from incest taboos and date rape to gay marriage and Baby M.

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Editorial Reviews

New Republic

[Posner] is one of the most distinguished and prolific legal thinkers of his generation [and this is an] extraordinary book...Like [George Bernard] Shaw, he combines a passion for exposing humbug and pseudo-profundity with an odd but genuine sort of social compassion, a delight in shocking the self-righteous with a love of human diversity and freedom...We will remember, and profit by, the wit and the courage of his attacks on bigotry, folly, and cruelty.
— Martha C. Nussbaum

Washington Post Book World

An incisive tour through theories of sexuality and legal regulation of such matters as marriage, pregnancy, homosexuality, sexual revolution in the courts, erotic art, pornography and nudity, sexual abuse, and the separation of reproduction from sex...At a time when intellectual shoddiness permeates our highest court, [Posner] is a true philosopher of law.
— Carlin Romano

New Republic - Martha C. Nussbaum
[Posner] is one of the most distinguished and prolific legal thinkers of his generation [and this is an] extraordinary book...Like [George Bernard] Shaw, he combines a passion for exposing humbug and pseudo-profundity with an odd but genuine sort of social compassion, a delight in shocking the self-righteous with a love of human diversity and freedom...We will remember, and profit by, the wit and the courage of his attacks on bigotry, folly, and cruelty.
Washington Post Book World - Carlin Romano
An incisive tour through theories of sexuality and legal regulation of such matters as marriage, pregnancy, homosexuality, sexual revolution in the courts, erotic art, pornography and nudity, sexual abuse, and the separation of reproduction from sex...At a time when intellectual shoddiness permeates our highest court, [Posner] is a true philosopher of law.
New Republic
[Posner] is one of the most distinguished and prolific legal thinkers of his generation [and this is an] extraordinary book...Like [George Bernard] Shaw, he combines a passion for exposing humbug and pseudo-profundity with an odd but genuine sort of social compassion, a delight in shocking the self-righteous with a love of human diversity and freedom...We will remember, and profit by, the wit and the courage of his attacks on bigotry, folly, and cruelty.
— Martha C. Nussbaum
Washington Post Book World
An incisive tour through theories of sexuality and legal regulation of such matters as marriage, pregnancy, homosexuality, sexual revolution in the courts, erotic art, pornography and nudity, sexual abuse, and the separation of reproduction from sex...At a time when intellectual shoddiness permeates our highest court, [Posner] is a true philosopher of law.
— Carlin Romano
From Barnes & Noble
A judge and legal scholar discusses a wide range of issues about sexuality & social control, from the enigmas of sex & culture throughout history to current controversies over homosexuality, abortion, surrogate motherhood, & pornography.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674802803
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 472
  • Sales rank: 1,114,810
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

PART ONE: The History of Sexuality

1. Theoretical Sexology

The Development of the Field

Social Constructionism (with a Glance at Gender Disorders)

Other Threads in the Multidisciplinary Tapestry

2. Autres Temps, Autres Moeurs

The History of Western Sexual Mores

The Sexual Mores of Non-Western Cultures

3. Sexuality and Law

PART TWO: A Theory of Sexuality

4. The Biology of Sex

The Biological Basis and Character of "Normal" Sex

The Biology of "Deviant" Sex

Conclusion and Critique

5. Sex and Rationality

The Benefits of Sex

The Costs of Sex

Complementarity of Sexual Practices

6. The History of Sexuality from the Perspective of Economics

Greek Love and the Institutionalization of Pederasty

Monasticism, Puritanism, and Christian Sex Ethics

Swedish Permissiveness

Three Stages in the Evolution of Sexual Morality

7. Optimal Regulation of Sexuality

The Model of Morally Indifferent Sex Elaborated

The Externalities of Sex

Incest and Revulsion

The Efficacy of Sexual Regulations

Designing an Optimal Punishment Scheme for Sex Crimes

The Political Economy of Sexual Regulation

8. Moral Theories of Sexuality

Are Moral Theories Falsifiable?

Christian and Liberal Theories of Sex

Sexual Radicals

PART THREE: The Regulation of Sexuality

9. Marriage and the Channeling of Sex

Restrictions on Marrying

Regulating Nonmarital Sex

10. The Control of Pregnancy

Contraception

Abortion

11. Homosexuality: The Policy Questions

The Phenomenon Reconsidered

Relations between Consenting Adults: Sodomy Laws and Homosexual Marriage

Discrimination against Homosexuals, with Particular Reference to Military Service

12. The Sexual Revolution in the Courts

From Griswold v. Connecticut to Roe v. Wade

Bowers v. Hardwick and Beyond

13. Erotic Art, Pornography, and Nudity

The Economy of Erotic Representation

The Social Consequences of Pornography

Deciding What-If Anything-to Punish

14. Coercive Sex

Sexual Abuse of Adults

Sexual Abuse of Children

15. Separating Reproduction from Sex

Adoption

Artificial Insemination and the Issue of Surrogate Motherhood

Eugenics and Population

Conclusion

Acknowledgements

Index

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