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Liberalism and Prostitution

Peter de Marneffe

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195383249
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199870554 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383249.001.0001

Series: Oxford Political Philosophy

Liberalism and Prostitution

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Civil libertarians characterize prostitution as a “victimless crime,” and argue that it ought to be legalized. Feminist critics counter that prostitution is not victimless, since it harms the people who do it. Civil libertarians respond that most women freely choose to do this work, and that it is paternalistic for the government to limit a person's liberty for her own good. This book argues that although most prostitution is voluntary, paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are nonetheless morally justifiable. If prostitution is commonly harmful in the way that feminist critics maintain, this argument for prostitution laws is not objectionably moralistic and some prostitution laws violate no one's rights. Paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are therefore consistent with the fundamental principles of contemporary liberalism.

Keywords: prostitution; liberalism; paternalism; individual rights; liberty; moralism; government neutrality

Book.  224 pages. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Liberalism and Prostitution

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Government Moralism in Liberalism and Prostitution

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Individual Rights in Liberalism and Prostitution

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Conclusion in Liberalism and Prostitution

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