Ethical approaches to sexual ethics

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  • Ethical approaches to Sexual ethics
    • Situation ethics
      • As it encourages acting out of agape, would only condone if just for enjoyment (Mill)
      • Therefore supports homosexuality & contraception (Nicaragua) but not extra marital. Pre + abortion would be case-by-case
    • Natural Law
      • RC based on Aquinas teachings of telos therefore making NL & RC identical
      • Purpose of sex is procreation. Anything else that doesn’t fulfil this purpose is unnatural & sin
      • Aquinas’ approach also insists upon marriage according to C teachings
      • Both of these criteria mean homosexuality, pre-marital & masturbation outlawed
      • Same problems of ‘natural’ as CC + sex after menopause, wrong time of month etc. – Kant ‘ought implies can’
    • Christian ethics
      • Catholic priests historically not allowed to marry as seen to be married to Christ & Church
      • Now marriage seen as linked to love. Jack Dominion - new definitions needed of expression of love & CC made mistake in emphasis of bio purpose. Argues ‘living in sin’ can meet same criteria
      • Purpose marriage: fides, proles & sacramentum est. by NL & scripture – ‘unnatural’ place for kids
      • Wasn’t case when OT was written - Abraham concubine & Hebrew law marriage as purchase. Reflection of sexism in OT, not uncommon for women to be stoned to death for adultery
        • Feminists see this as enforcing patriarchal ideologies of women as submissive & stay in the home
        • Protestants – moved from influencing promiscuity to a means of unifying a couple & therefore stops unwanted pregnancies being ‘agape’
        • Catholic church – heart of CC is SOL, which goes against contraception & abortion leading to Nicaragua & Africa – contrast to SE. Believe it interferes w/ PP of reproduction but do allow rhythm method + 3 purposes of marriage. Based on Genesis when God told us to be fruitful & multiply.
        • ‘you shall not lie w/ a man as with a women’ & ‘men committing shameless acts w/ men’
        • CC – sex only for heterosexual marriage as part of God’s promise - OT shows only needed wife to be virgin as men dominate – ‘virgin surgery’. Value authority of bible, which teaches homosexuality wrong (feminist interp). No sin in thought only in act (telos).
    • Kant
      • Universal maxim seems to rule out contraception, extra-marital & homosexuality
      • Not right to use people as means to an end e.g. lust/****. If consenting, treated as equals & doesn’t go against CI sex is right i.e. marriage, but also allows prostitution
      • Good basis for ensuring protection rights of all those involved (business)
    • Utilitarianism
      • V. libertarian outlook allowing people to do whatever they like according to principles of contractariansim & harm principle
      • Would look at case-by-case inc. affects of children, foetus no pain & regret of pre-marital
      • Mill – higher pleasure of raising children over sex. H
        • However, would allow contraception & abortion when having children would be too much pain.
          • Would be tolerant of homosexuality etc. as emphasis liberty. However, if became norm would be damaging universal to population (China + wouldn’t it be better for edu, envi etc.?)
    • Virtue ethics
      • Seek to find how a person can become virtuous through sex. By dev sexual intimacy & investing in another person we’re becoming virtuous in love, companionship, trust etc.
      • Golden mean of modesty, respect, partner as middle ground of celibacy & promiscuity – would see pre & extra as wrong + spitefulness contribution to divorce
      • More tolerant of alt sexual activity due to self-dev through ideals of virtue - pre (extra?)
      • Cultural relativism – pre-Christian idea that prostitution was sacred position arranged marriages, now massive leap in last 20 years of acceptability of premarital + cultural circumcision
      • Feminists - oppressive virtues created & condition by men – especially sex ethics e.g. Hebrew law. NL is social construction & therefore not moral guide for ‘natural’ (is sexuality that central?)


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