philosophy meta-forum

Why sodomy is wrong

Hesiod

11 day(s) ago

Finished the piece- I don’t agree with the conclusion, but I think it’s well written and well-argued. Some of the lines of concern the author mentions I share- chiefly the “how do we derive much normative force from the account?” But most of all the “This seems like a very sophisticated post hoc rationalization of a claim delivered by theology” worry resonated with me. Thanks to whoever posted the piece- I wanted arguments and I got sophisticated ones to mull over.

Evander

11 day(s) ago

Since none of you have offered reasons or arguments for your laughable view I’m declaring this thread dead. Come back in a few thousand years when you learn to stop confusing things you find gross with moral wrongs or actually come up with a novel and sound argument that could convince someone with half a brain. TLDR: preaching isn’t philosophy, so get off our fucking lawn.

Leonard

LOL get Rawls' dick out of your mouth faggot, that's not how morality works.

Rae

11 day(s) ago

Chia- shut your trap you raving racist fuck bag. The point was that there are a billion more pressing moral concerns than where people put their genitalia. You know this to be true, too, you just delight in being a miserable little fuck.

Leonard

Chia isn't the one that is going to be swimming in a locust-swarm of 75 IQ Africans because you won't stop feeding them far beyond their own carrying capacity, pal.

Uisang

11 day(s) ago

Finished the piece- I don’t agree with the conclusion, but I think it’s well written and well-argued. Some of the lines of concern the author mentions I share- chiefly the “how do we derive much normative force from the account?” But most of all the “This seems like a very sophisticated post hoc rationalization of a claim delivered by theology” worry resonated with me. Thanks to whoever posted the piece- I wanted arguments and I got sophisticated ones to mull over.

Hesiod

Welcome

Huang

10 day(s) ago

"The point is that we shouldn’t be using faculties to contrary ends. It isn’t that we can’t use them for other ends. Feser addresses this."

From what I've seen in the literature, the people who talk about ends are either talking about the ends of things distinct from persons (e.g., organs, systems, etc.) or the ends of persons. The arguments in the first pile are usually pretty terrible. That's why Aquinas mocked them using his example of walking on our hands. I don't know anyone who is consistent in their application of a principle against using these things contrary to ends in this first sense and I've never seen an argument that cuts the cases right (e.g., distinguishes sodomy from oral sex or, for that matter, anal sex in the confines of a loving heterosexual marriage). The only good arguments in this genre are those that identify an end of a person that rules out certain things as illicit. Alas, the problem with this argument is that inevitably the minor premise is impossible to justify. The best version of the argument is something like, 'It is wrong to do things that are contrary to our ends understood as the end of developing our virtue' and the arguments that try to connect this to the impermissibility of sodomy almost always rest on some dodgy empirical premise about who can or cannot cultivate virtue.

Of course, Feser opts for the worse version of the argument. And of course, he says nothing about the better readings of Aquinas and other respectable natural law theorists that looked at the function of the whole person (i.e., to develop virtue, including the virtues that the pious person would have) because he's a hack who seems to know less about his area than a godless, non-ethicist who was burdened with having to teach this early in his career. I nearly want to commend him, though, for admitting that his position is basically that sodomy is wrong in the way that jerking off is. He should lead with that, though. And he should appreciate that it's much worse to be a jerk off than it is to jerk off.

Antisthenes

10 day(s) ago

Aquinas didn’t ridicule the ideas with hand walking point, bud. You’re misreading.

Anita

10 day(s) ago

Aquinas didn’t ridicule the ideas with hand walking point, bud. You’re misreading.

Antisthenes

So badly misreading that it's hard to believe you even read it at all.

Antisthenes

10 day(s) ago

Aquinas didn’t ridicule the ideas with hand walking point, bud. You’re misreading.

Antisthenes

So badly misreading that it's hard to believe you even read it at all.

Anita

Didn’t he suggest that he taught it too?

Lol

Mary

10 day(s) ago

Indeed ^ But the general point RE masturbation isn’t a bad one. And the view is generally consistent with the idea that none of these things are grave sins, but are just not conducive to the development of best character, like other vices.

Huang

10 day(s) ago

Aquinas didn’t ridicule the ideas with hand walking point, bud. You’re misreading.

Antisthenes

Here's the passage:

"Nor, in fact, should it be deemed a slight sin for a man to arrange for the emission of semen apart from the proper purpose of generating and bringing up children, on the argument that it is either a slight sin, or none at all, for a person to use a part of the body for a different use than that to which it is directed by nature (say, for instance, one chose to walk on his hands, or to use his feet for something usually done with the hands) because man’s good is not much opposed by such inordinate use. However, the inordinate emission of semen is incompatible with the natural good; namely, the preservation of the species."

It's clear that the sin isn't the use of some part of the body for a novel function, per se, but to use it in a way that is incompatible with some natural good, which, in this case, would be the preservation of the species through reproduction. It is because of an alleged incompatibility between homosexual sex and discharging the responsibility to procreate that this is supposed to be ruled out, not because of some silly idea that the sexual organs were being used in a novel way that deviates from some list of acceptable uses. (Of course, this is a really bad argument, but Aquinas was keenly aware of why the style of argument that you find in Feser is a non-starter.)

Huang

10 day(s) ago

In other words, it is not a perversion to use a part of the body in a novel way, one that differs from a natural function; it is a perversion to use the body in a way that prevents the agent from fulfilling their natural function (e.g., to cultivate virtue, to worship God, to discharge their contribution to the collective responsibility of creating more people).

Arcesilaus

10 day(s) ago

Indeed ^ But the general point RE masturbation isn’t a bad one. And the view is generally consistent with the idea that none of these things are grave sins, but are just not conducive to the development of best character, like other vices.

Mary

For Thomas? no, they're huge sins. Theyre contra naturam, which are sins against God. masturbation is the least serious of the mix.

Richard

10 day(s) ago

Huang,

The point is that Aquinas didn't mock them by using the example of hand walking. In fact, in mentioning hand walking, he's responding to grounds for criticism against his view. Thus, your claim that "That's why Aquinas mocked them using his example of walking on our hands" is wrong.

Geoffrey

10 day(s) ago

Sure, he’s responding to criticism against his view by clarifying that his view never was the crude view that located the ground for the duty in the function of the parts.

Edvard

10 day(s) ago

Sure, he’s responding to criticism against his view by clarifying that his view never was the crude view that located the ground for the duty in the function of the parts.

Geoffrey

Nooooo. What he says there is that his view allows for general or inordinate uses of the parts, those that are different from the end. He's not distancing himself from the importance of parts meeting their natural ends. Hence, Aquinas also says:

"Hence, we must look for a solution in our earlier considerations. We have said that God exercises care over every person on the basis of what is good for him. Now, it is good for each person to attain his end, whereas it is bad for him to swerve away from his proper end. Now, this should be considered applicable to the parts, just as it is to the whole being; for instance, each and every part of man, and every one of his acts, should attain the proper end. Now, though the male semen is superfluous in regard to the preservation of the individual, it is nevertheless necessary in regard to the propagation of the species. Other superfluous things, such as excrement, urine, sweat, and such things, are not at all necessary; hence, their emission contributes to man’s good. Now, this is not what is sought in the case of semen, but, rather, to emit it for the purpose of generation, to which purpose the sexual act is directed. But man’s generative process would be frustrated unless it were followed by proper nutrition, because the offspring would not survive if proper nutrition were withheld. Therefore, the emission of semen ought to be so ordered that it will result in both the production of the proper offspring and in the upbringing of this offspring."

So here we see Aquinas affirm that the parts should meet their proper end.

Huang

10 day(s) ago

So, by your reading, the difference between using a hand for walking and using a penis in anal sex is down to the connection between some natural good connected to sex that's not connected to the use of the hand, no? So when there's the potential for wrongful use of parts, it's because of this connection to the natural good (e.g., procreation) and not discernible from the mere mismatch of the function and the part (e.g., using a hand to walk instead of using it to manipulate objects). (Without reference to these natural goods or responsibilities for things like procreation, we wouldn't have a means for distinguishing that which is superfluous from that which is not.)

Axel

10 day(s) ago

So, by your reading, the difference between using a hand for walking and using a penis in anal sex is down to the connection between some natural good connected to sex that's not connected to the use of the hand, no? So when there's the potential for wrongful use of parts, it's because of this connection to the natural good (e.g., procreation) and not discernible from the mere mismatch of the function and the part (e.g., using a hand to walk instead of using it to manipulate objects). (Without reference to these natural goods or responsibilities for things like procreation, we wouldn't have a means for distinguishing that which is superfluous from that which is not.)

Huang

Something like that. The main point I’m making here is that Aquinas does apply the same idea to our parts.

Axel

10 day(s) ago

So, by your reading, the difference between using a hand for walking and using a penis in anal sex is down to the connection between some natural good connected to sex that's not connected to the use of the hand, no? So when there's the potential for wrongful use of parts, it's because of this connection to the natural good (e.g., procreation) and not discernible from the mere mismatch of the function and the part (e.g., using a hand to walk instead of using it to manipulate objects). (Without reference to these natural goods or responsibilities for things like procreation, we wouldn't have a means for distinguishing that which is superfluous from that which is not.)

Huang

Something like that. The main point I’m making here is that Aquinas does apply the same idea to our parts.

Axel

And that we can allow for general or inordinate uses, but not those uses that are contrary to natural ends because they’re bad for us.

Huang

10 day(s) ago

"Something like that. The main point I’m making here is that Aquinas does apply the same idea to our parts."

Sure, he applies it to parts BUT only when there's this connection to the natural good and not to silly things like walking on your hands. What I thought was silly, mockable, absurd was trying to establish a moral claim using claims about the function of parts _in the absence of an accompanying claim about natural goods_. I think that that means that we're close to being on the same page with respect to Aquinas interpretation, but now I wonder if we agree that Aquinas would dismiss as absurd the idea that we can establish a moral conclusion by appeal to some claim about the functions of parts without support from further claims about natural goods?

Axel

10 day(s) ago

"Something like that. The main point I’m making here is that Aquinas does apply the same idea to our parts."

Sure, he applies it to parts BUT only when there's this connection to the natural good and not to silly things like walking on your hands.

What I thought was silly, mockable, absurd was trying to establish a moral claim using claims about the function of parts _in the absence of an accompanying claim about natural goods_. I think that that means that we're close to being on the same page with respect to Aquinas interpretation, but now I wonder if we agree that Aquinas would dismiss as absurd the idea that we can establish a moral conclusion by appeal to some claim about the functions of parts without support from further claims about natural goods?

Huang

He says that it is applicable to *each* and *every* part and his acts. He applies that same principle to hand walking, but finds that this different use is permissible because the good is not much affected. But why not?

Chief among the reasons, I think, is that the natural end of hands and feet were not “frustrated”. Their inordinate use is “different” and “unusual”, but not contrary to the end of the hand or feet. Had it been contrary, then, prima facie, the good of man would have been affected.

So we agree that there must be a good involved, but for me, when I read Aquinas, and presumably with Feser, the good of man is when he and his parts reach their natural ends.

Nasir

10 day(s) ago

Even the Divine being is a threesome

Giuseppe

9 day(s) ago

Indeed ^ But the general point RE masturbation isn’t a bad one. And the view is generally consistent with the idea that none of these things are grave sins, but are just not conducive to the development of best character, like other vices.

Mary

For Thomas? no, they're huge sins. Theyre contra naturam, which are sins against God. masturbation is the least serious of the mix.

Arcesilaus

I meant for Feser. I don’t know how he makes the leap from perverted faculties to sin since he insists the perverted faculties view is not a form of divine command theory.



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