Sex, Family, and Self-Authorship


in Constitutional Goods

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199225798
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706516 | DOI:
Sex, Family, and Self-Authorship

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This chapter discusses how a constitution ordered to public reason understood as dialogic community would resolve the tension between the individual's right of self-authorship, on the one hand, and moral norms governing sex and the family, on the other. It contrasts the medieval teleological framework for regulating sexual and familial relationships with Kant's deontological reinterpretation of sexual morality. It discusses Hegel's revision of the medieval teleology of sex so as to accommodate the right of self-authorship. The chapter argues that the new constitutional paradigm can justify to liberals the regulation of pornography, prostitution, and abortion. It proposes a teleological understanding of sexual morality that can approve of same-sex marriage, while disapproving of polygamy and incest even when these relations are consensual and harmless.

Keywords: self-authorship; sexual morality; pornography; prostitution; incest; polygamy; monogamy; same-sex marriage; abortion

Chapter.  17227 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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