Sexual Ethics / Ethics ~Philosophy of Religion ~ Continuation (The…
Sexual Ethics / Ethics ~Philosophy of Religion ~ Continuation
The Application of NATURAL LAW to Sexual Ethics:
Natural Law is concerned with the idea of what is right and wrong (deontological) and linked to a greater notion of an eternal law devised to helps human to develop. The process of what is right and wrong involves the use of reason which then leads us to good moral action.
Catholic approaches to sexual ethics draw heavily on natural law: the creation of new life is central to the purpose of sexual intercourse and marriage.
Homosexual acts, premarital sex, extramarital sex and sex using contraceptives are considered morally wrong according to natural law and consequently to the Catholic tradition because they do not follow
primary precept: procreation
. These notions do not sustain and flourish life in human society which goes against the primary precept which is central to natural law. Sex may feel good in these situations, but this is an
, not a real good.
However, approaches to sexual ethics based on natural law have been criticised. This is because the positive effects of unifying sexual acts between a loving couple is a sufficient enough reason for sex without the need to focus on reproduction, especially in the modern day.
BURTON M. LEISER
argues that sexual acts may have multiple purposes and he questions why every sexual act should be required to simultaneously fulfill every purpose. LEISER argues that if the purpose of sexual organs is only reproduction (and not for pleasure for oneself and others), then marriage between couples who cannot have children are unnatural. Condemning people of using their sexual organ to unite in pleasure heightens the prejudice and irrational taboos in our society.
Extramarital sex does not follow Biblical and Catholic teachings. As well as this, homosexuality challenges natural law and human law.
The Application of SITUATION ETHICS to Sexual Ethics:
This is a Christian theory proposed by
where traditional ethical rules may be broken in situations where the most loving things to do justifies the means, setting aside moral norms.
Situation ethics focuses on the particular situation, the interest of the person, love and justice. This, therefore, justifies and permits to go against traditional moral views surrounding sex and homosexuality.
It seeks a pragmatic approach to premarital and extramarital sex as well as same-sex unions. This sets aside fixed moral truths in order to put the person and the relationship at the heart of the decision ~ this is because
decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively
; people-centred ethics.
Situation ethics revolves around the notion of agape (unconditional love). Situation ethics would focus on the injustice in the way sexual relationships are regulated: heterosexual married couples often viewed as the only depiction of a legitimate relationship. This is unjust. If a same-sex couple can only find a meaningful relationship with one another, then according to situation ethics, this would be a justified moral end that breaks the social normative rules surrounding sexual relationships.
FLETCHER also illustrates examples around sexual ethics to further support the ethical approach to sex. If a wife, whose husband has early onset Alzheimer's disease and in a care home, the wife may find comfort in an extramarital relationship whilst continuing to care for her husband. This, FLETCHER argues, is justified as it all depends on the situation at hand.
However, there are difficulties when applying situational ethics to sexual ethics as questions emerge when other people are being affected and are not considered due to the subjective nature of the ethical system.
Situation ethics, therefore, focuses primarily on the protagonist of the situation, making is difficult to protect people in a broader scale and their interest. Society is then left vulnerable.
The Four Working Propositions: Pragmatism, Relativism, Positivism and Personalism support sexual ethics.
The Application of KANTIAN ETHICS to Sexual Ethics:
The key ideas of IMMANUEL KANT. His ethics is surrounded by the idea of
at the heart of the Kantian approach to sexual ethics.
His ethics also looks towards the
kingdom of ends
, one of his three
. This states a place where everyone is treated equality and hold respect for each other within a marriage. In contrast, any relationship that was not consensual was prohibited.
Therefore, by application of the kingdom of ends, sex that objectifies a person does not express utmost consideration and respect thereby making it unethical as sexual relationships, like any relationship, is built on equality.
The Kantian principle of treating every human person with dignity (as we are rational creatures, leaving us with value) would require all sexual relationships, including homosexual relationships, to be treated equally, which could also be supported by the
According to KANT, our actions must be universalisable (good for all people in all situations) and these principles can, therefore, be applied to relationships regardless of the gender or whether the couple is married or not. Universalising reproduction as a requirement of could, however, make homosexual relationships unethical.
Premarital and extramarital sex could be problematic from a KANTIAN perspective. This is because KANT is concerned that human beings should not be used and that they are always treated with dignity. Premarital and extramarital sex involve sexual relationships that are outside normative social rules. And if one believes these social rules exist to protect the vulnerable, sex not governed or following these rules leaves society vulnerable and people with less power being abused.
The Application of UTILITARIANISM to Sexual Ethics:
UTILITARIAN ethics seeks to maximise the greatest happiness for the greatest number. If happiness is equivalent to hedonistic pleasure, rather than a wider sense of well-being and happiness, then utilitarianism could be used to justify a free and unregulated approach to sexual behaviour. Giving people the freedom to have sex, whether it is in or out of marriage and irrespective to sexual orientation maximises pleasure. However, this over-indulgence can lead to consequences of STDs, unwarranted pregnancies or unfulfilling relationships.
JEREMY BENTHAM, however focuses on the greatest good rather pure pleasure. He wanted greater well-being for everyone. Thus, marriage rules protects those with no social power to those who do by restricting particular sexual behaviours. For example, women are protected by the nature of marriage from men who might want to use them for personal pleasure due to the patriarchal society.
Utilitarians might argue for ethical rules about reproduction. This is because society as a whole needs children for the continuation of humanity's existence. So if utilitarianism seeks to maximise pleasure and everyone freely chooses contraception, to have no children or foster rather than reproduce, then society as a whole would suffer and happiness for the greatest number is not achieved.
JOHN STUART MILL
, a utilitarian and a libertarian, believed it was important to prevent mass social prejudice restricting the rights and happiness of individuals. His focus on qualitative measures of happiness would place the pleasure and happiness of the homosexual minority above the pain of those who seek to oppress homosexuality. This results in protecting those who are a minority and different from the majority of heterosexuals in society.
DISCUSSING SEXUAL ETHICS:
[-] Involving religion and applying it to social norms for sexual ethics causes issues. In many parts of the world, homosexuals are oppressed and discriminated against, even tortured and executed in some parts of the world as it's considered a crime due to the foundations of religious beliefs not complimenting the notion of homosexuality. Often, these religious beliefs are based on particular interpretations of sacred text which are widespread. This makes it difficult for homosexuals to be free from the prejudice and tyranny of the masses.
[-] A society that advocates extramarital sex would put marriages at risk which can have significant consequences for both partners and children involved.
[-] Most ethical theories suggest that sexual behaviour should be governed by societal norms or legislation. Utilitarians, for instance, seek to maximise happiness for the greatest number of people, but this leads to allowing the majority to determine the rules that will bind some unhappy situations for the minority that are homosexual.
[+] Libertarians wish to free individuals from restriction of the majority. MILL, a utilitarian libertarian, advances higher qualities of good as something that the majority must respect. He places the happiness of the majority above the pain of the majority (oppressing homosexuality) in order to ensure that the rules do no inflict pain to the minority and cause them unhappiness.
KANTIANS would want sexual relations to be governed by ethical principles and for any law developed by society, to be informed by principles. Natural would argue for established moral rules governing sex. These two approaches adopting deontological elements.
[+] Situation ethics provides a way of thinking about the morality of sex where the most loving to do is prioritised and social norms can be broken. This makes space for those who are different because this ethical theory accepts exceptions and unique circumstances.
[-] Natural law might be used in a way to narrowly define the purpose of human beings and can, therefore, be used to create rules that are too prescriptive and restrictive.
Underpinned by the Catholic Church