PHL243 Philosophy of Sexuality Syllabus

University of Toronto, Fall 2014


About This Course

"Sex" denotes three different areas: gender-sex, erotic sex, and the ethics/politics of sexuality. The course will attend roughly equally to all three. The first defines questions about sexual dimorphism (or polymorphism) at the biological level (female, male, hermaphrodite) and at the cultural level (feminine, masculine, transvestite, trans man, trans woman, intersex, etc....) and the complicated relations between the two (e.g. do transsexuals change sex or do they change gender?) The second requires that we think about the nature of sexual desire and its objects. What is sexual desire, and what, if anything, is a perversion? What is pornography and its significance for understanding sexuality? The third domain picks up the evaluative controversies raised by political and moral attitudes towards the issues of the first two: sexual (in)equality; prostitution; juvenile & inter-generational sex; gay rights and identity, the question of censorship of porn, etc. We'll have time only for a sampling.