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The Ethics of Sex

Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/26/2010 3:43:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
As I was reading a book (Moral Minds by Marc D. Hauser), I happened to come across something that caught my eye. A particular passage of the book dealt with an ethical question regarding sex. As it turns out, the question pushed at the boundaries of my own ethical intuitions and made me pause for a moment.

Here is how Hauser introduces the scenario in the book.

"2. A brother and sister are on vacation together and decide that to enrich their wonderful relationship they should make love. Since he has been vasectomized and she is on the pill, there is no risk of pregnancy. They make passionate love and it is a wonderful experience for both. They keep this their secret, something that they will always remember and cherish.

The brother and sister's lovemaking was:

[1- Not disgusting] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [10 Exceedingly disgusting]" [1]

Shortly after introducing this though experiment, Hauser goes on to give his own thoughts on the topic. In terms of disgust, he (Marc Hauser) rates this situation at an 8 and goes on to say, "I can't imagine ever making love with my sister if I had one. Incest seems morally wrong..." He did not, unfortunately, elaborate any further beyond this.

Personally, I gave this situation a 3 at first, and then I stopped to think. After thinking for about 20 seconds I decided to reevaluate my original answer and ranked this situation with a 1. Simply put, I can't imagine any intelligent way of talking about human wellbeing whereby I could morally condemn incestuous adults that weren't spawning children.

Anyway, what are your thought on incest. Can you come up with a coherent argument that indicates why this situation is wrong in any way?

Sources:
1. Hauser, Marc D. Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. New York: Ecco, 2006. (p. 22)
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 3:48:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 3:43:56 PM, Freeman wrote:
As I was reading a book (Moral Minds by Marc D. Hauser), I happened to come across something that caught my eye. A particular passage of the book dealt with an ethical question regarding sex. As it turns out, the question pushed at the boundaries of my own ethical intuitions and made me pause for a moment.

Here is how Hauser introduces the scenario in the book.

"2. A brother and sister are on vacation together and decide that to enrich their wonderful relationship they should make love. Since he has been vasectomized and she is on the pill, there is no risk of pregnancy. They make passionate love and it is a wonderful experience for both. They keep this their secret, something that they will always remember and cherish.

The brother and sister's lovemaking was:

[1- Not disgusting] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [10 Exceedingly disgusting]" [1]

Shortly after introducing this though experiment, Hauser goes on to give his own thoughts on the topic. In terms of disgust, he (Marc Hauser) rates this situation at an 8 and goes on to say, "I can't imagine ever making love with my sister if I had one. Incest seems morally wrong..." He did not, unfortunately, elaborate any further beyond this.

Personally, I gave this situation a 3 at first, and then I stopped to think. After thinking for about 20 seconds I decided to reevaluate my original answer and ranked this situation with a 1. Simply put, I can't imagine any intelligent way of talking about human wellbeing whereby I could morally condemn incestuous adults that weren't spawning children.

Anyway, what are your thought on incest. Can you come up with a coherent argument that indicates why this situation is wrong in any way?

Sources:
1. Hauser, Marc D. Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. New York: Ecco, 2006. (p. 22)

because it is not the norm.
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Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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5/26/2010 3:55:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So what?
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:00:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 3:55:42 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So what?

it has the potential to harm others. how do you think you'd take it if you had a son and daughter and they started fvcking. to be honest, i don't really think it's immoral, i just said that for the sake of it.
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badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?
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Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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5/26/2010 4:02:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:00:32 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:55:42 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So what?

it has the potential to harm others. how do you think you'd take it if you had a son and daughter and they started fvcking. to be honest, i don't really think it's immoral, i just said that for the sake of it.

Mirza, we've had this discussion.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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5/26/2010 4:04:43 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:00:32 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:55:42 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So what?

it has the potential to harm others. how do you think you'd take it if you had a son and daughter and they started fvcking. to be honest, i don't really think it's immoral, i just said that for the sake of it.

Some parents don't want their daughter to marry a gangster, but that doesn't mean they ought not to get married. The parents can dislike many things and makes no difference about what other people choose to do.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
feverish
Posts: 2,716
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5/26/2010 4:07:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
How disgusting something is is a bit different to how moral it is. I thought 3 straight away (before reading that you did) and I think I still do.

Maybe I'd think it was more disgusting if I had a sister myself? I certainly find the idea of sex between child and parent a 10 (possibly 11) on the disgusting scale.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:10:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:04:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:00:32 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:55:42 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So what?

it has the potential to harm others. how do you think you'd take it if you had a son and daughter and they started fvcking. to be honest, i don't really think it's immoral, i just said that for the sake of it.

Some parents don't want their daughter to marry a gangster, but that doesn't mean they ought not to get married. The parents can dislike many things and makes no difference about what other people choose to do.

but could it not be considered wrong to do something that has to potential to harm others?
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mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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5/26/2010 4:10:22 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
i wouldn't condemn them...

but the thought (even of hypothetical people doing so) is a bit repulsive to me..
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:14:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...

yes, and i said that it had the potential to do harm.
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Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/26/2010 4:19:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:14:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...

yes, and i said that it had the potential to do harm.

So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/26/2010 4:22:05 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:07:01 PM, feverish wrote:
How disgusting something is is a bit different to how moral it is.

That's true, but there are scientific studies which indicate that a lot of our moral intuitions revolve around the feelings of disgust we may have. Hauser talks about this in the book.

So, even though morality may not line up exactly with disgust, what we find to be disgusting often affects our moral intuitions.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:22:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:19:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:14:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...

yes, and i said that it had the potential to do harm.

So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?
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Puck
Posts: 6,457
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5/26/2010 4:24:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:22:13 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:19:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:14:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...

yes, and i said that it had the potential to do harm.

So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?

Equivocating on harm.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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5/26/2010 4:25:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:22:13 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:19:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:14:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...

yes, and i said that it had the potential to do harm.

So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?

If it's on your property and everyone legitimately there has fair warning.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:25:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:22:13 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:19:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:14:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:12:40 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:02:48 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:57:51 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 3:53:47 PM, badger wrote:
i'll add that it effects others.

So does getting married. Is mariage immoral?

what makes something immoral?

A standard, even if it's subjective, to make the claim. It's your claim is that it was immoral so ...

yes, and i said that it had the potential to do harm.

So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?

i don't even get me sometimes.

i guess it comes down to the likelihood that it will cause harm. judging by the amount of responces by people telling us that the thought of it disturbs them, i'd say the likelihood is fairly high.
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Puck
Posts: 6,457
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5/26/2010 4:25:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:24:24 PM, Puck wrote:
So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?

Equivocating on harm.

To put it another way, people becoming upset because they disagree with your personal choices is not the same as taking to them with a baseball bat.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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5/26/2010 4:29:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:25:49 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:24:24 PM, Puck wrote:
So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?

Equivocating on harm.

To put it another way, people becoming upset because they disagree with your personal choices is not the same as taking to them with a baseball bat.

so the person has to be physically harmed by an action for it to be an immoral one?
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Puck
Posts: 6,457
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5/26/2010 4:31:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/26/2010 4:29:08 PM, badger wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:25:49 PM, Puck wrote:
At 5/26/2010 4:24:24 PM, Puck wrote:
So, you want to ban everything that's potentially harmful? Well, you may as well just kill yourself then, since everything could potentially kill you. Oh wait, suicide is guaranteed to harm you. I guess you're just f*cked (even though that can harm you too, from what I hear).

obvious responce. should it be legal to throw anvils of skyscrapers or shoot randomly in crowds of people?

Equivocating on harm.

To put it another way, people becoming upset because they disagree with your personal choices is not the same as taking to them with a baseball bat.

so the person has to be physically harmed by an action for it to be an immoral one?

Not really relelvant. See below.