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Philosophy of Sex and Love, The : An Introduction, 2nd Edition, Revised and Expanded

Philosophy of Sex and Love, The : An Introduction, 2nd Edition, Revised and Expanded



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Index , Notes , Bibliography
$19.95 (19.95)
"Humorous, thought-provoking, well written, and completely jargon-free, it is accessible to any interested reader who wants to think more about these issues.... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers." (Full review below.)
CHOICE, March 2009

"The Philosophy of Sex and Love is intriguing and very much enlightening to readers, highly recommended."
The Midwest Book Review

This completely revised and rewritten textbook expands on Soble's insightful earlier book of the same title.

"Alan Soble's new book is a wonderfully rich, engaging, humane, witty, literate but above all philosophically rigorous study of love and sex. It offers an impeccably fair-minded and comprehensive guide to what is now an extensive and very varied philosophical literature on these subjects. Soble provides a judicious and intelligent appraisal of the many claims made about gender, sexual perversion, marriage, and eternal love by a long and not always distinguished line of conservatives, liberals, and feminists without losing either his sense of balance or of humour."
– David Archard, Philosophy Department, Lancaster University

Clear writing, colorful examples, and challenging arguments
"The work of Alan Soble has always been known for its deft analysis , first-rate scholarship, and wry humor. The second edition of his Philosophy of Sex and Love is no exception. It is an excellent pedagogical tool: engagingly written, closely argued, and broad of scope. The book achieves the rare distinction of being both a fine textbook and an admirable piece of philosophical writing."
–Jeffrey Hershfield, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Witchita State University

"The Philosophy of Sex and Love is an excellent introduction to an important subject. Alan Soble provides insightful and fair critical commentary on a wide range of scholars and topics, and also presents many of his own views and arguments. The writing is clear, lively, occasionally opinionated, and often funny. The book is particularly appropriate for undergraduate level courses, but readers at al levels will find it informative and pleasurable reading."
–Patricia Marino, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Waterloo

“Soble, who for almost two decades has been a leader in philosophical work on sex and love, critiques some of the silly, strained, and strange views put forth by major authors on these areas. From his critique, it becomes clear that careful reflection on these basic elements of human life is very difficult.... Soble not only critiques both naturalistic ethicists and social constructionists, but also shows how the criteria of Kantian respect and Utilitarian harm fail to produce a plausible sexual ethic.... Soble has read widely from Plato and Aquinas to Paul VI and John Paul II. Taking snippets from these and other sources such as feminist philosophy and sociobiology, he sews them together into a quizzical quiltwork.... His clear writing, colorful examples, and challenging arguments recommend this book not only to students but also to individuals and institutions that presume they understand sex and Love.” –Edward Vacek, S.J., Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Theological Studies, Vol. 59, No. 4

We can all understand it
“From Plato & St. Paul to Goldman & Nagel, Professor Soble’s book takes the reader through the many questions asked throughout history about the nature of sex and love and does it in such a way that we can all understand it.” –Sandy Dixon, New Orleans, LA

This is an introductory textbook in the philosophy of sex and love by one of America’s best known authors on the topic. It is a critical overview of the nature, and the ethics, of sex and love. Most of the book focuses how 20th-century thinkers in various intellectual traditions have conceived of sexuality and love. Throughout, the book’s approach to the philosophy of sex and love is analytic, historical, and social.

Topics addressed include the nature of sexual pleasure, sexual desire, and sexual activity; the relationship between judgments about the biological, psychological, and social natures of human beings and judgments that certain sexual behaviors or desires are sexually perverted; the possibility of constructing plausible and comprehensive principles of sexual ethics; the moral and social issues of rape, Pornography, prostitution, adultery, promiscuity, masturbation, abortion, and contraception; the varieties and forms of love; the connections, logical and psychological, among sexuality, love, friendship, and marriage; and how issues within the philosophy of sex and love look different once gender is taken into account.

Authors discussed include, from the history of philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Hume, Kierkegaard, and Russell; and, from among our contemporaries, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Michel Foucault, Carol Gilligan, Martha Nussbaum, Lillian Rubin, and Roger Scruton.

Part One
The Background

Chapter One
An Overview
Two Projects; The Significance of Sex and Love; Secret Pictures; Sexual Pluralism

Chapter Two
A History of the Philosophy of Sex and Love
The Ancients; Medieval Philosophy; Modern Philosophy; The Twentieth Century; Contemporary Philosophy

Part two
Chapter Three
Sexual Concepts
Analytic Questions; Sexual Activity; Sexual Desire; Social Constructionism; Polysemicity (polysemy); Sexual Sensations

Chapter Four
Sexual Perversion
St. Thomas Aquinas; Problems with Natural Law; Psychological Perversion; Psychiatry and Perversion; A Conceptual Framework

Chapter Five
Sexual Ethics
Contraception; Beyond Natural Law; Immanuel Kant; Contemporary Kantian Philosophy; Utilitarianism; Sadomasochism; Love

Chapter Six
Sexual Politics
Consent, Again; Pedophilia; Prostitution and Marriage; Marital Rape; Compulsory Heterosexuality; Pornography

Part Three

Chapter Seven
Varieties of Love
What Is Love?; Love and Value; Eros and Agape; Evaluating and Assessing Love; The Fine Gold Thread; Concern and Benevolence; Union

Chapter Eight
Features of Love
Tangles in Theories of Love; Exclusivity; Uniqueness; Irreplaceability; Constancy; Reciprocity

Chapter Nine
Sex, Love, and Marriage
Pauline Marriage; The Links; Sex and Love; The Death of Desire; Saving Marriage; Reasons for Monogamy; Reasons for Marriage

Chapter Ten
Women and Men; Gender and Sex Surveys; Heterosexual Failure; Gendered Sexuality; Gendered Love

Further Reading

Choice Full Review
"Until quite recently, many philosophers seemed to be afraid of sex and love, and they considered such matters to be philosophically uninteresting. But not anymore! Now a growing philosophical literature is available on sexual ethics, gender, sexual orientation, marriage, monogamy, and sexual perversion. In the second edition of his book, Soble (founder, The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love) covers most of the ongoing debates on these topics. The author, who has devoted his philosophical career to this particular field, provides a comprehensive discussion of all the philosophical issues concerning love and sex that have merged in the last 40 years or so. Indeed, he seems to know everything about the philosophy of sex and love; his bibliography is extensive, and this reviewer did not identify any relevant topics Soble has missed. Part of a series written for undergraduates taking basic philosophy classes, this volume is intended as a basic introduction to the field. Humorous, thought-provoking, well written, and completely jargon-free, it is accessible to any interested reader who wants to think more about these issues. Soble’s other works include Sex from Plato to Paglia (CH, Jul’06, 43-6248) and Pornography, Sex, and Feminism (CH, Dec’02, 40-2103). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers."