Can Sex Be Reasonable?


in In Defense of Natural Law

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267713
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683343 | DOI:
Can Sex Be Reasonable?

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This chapter offers a critique from the natural law viewpoint of Richard Posner’s ‘economic analysis’ of sex in his book Sex and Reason. Posner recognizes the intellectual integrity and force of natural law teaching on sexuality and strives sincerely to make his critique of that teaching on sexuality an informed one. The chapter argues that Posner’s failure in understanding the natural law view obscures his awareness of the profound respects in which the work of natural law theorists undermines the purely instrumental conception of practical reason which is presupposed by Posner’s economic analyses, not only of sex, but of law, and other activities and socially constituted phenomena that are the fruit of practical deliberation and human choosing.

Keywords: economic analysis; sex; Richard Posner; natural law; sexuality

Chapter.  6141 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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