The Ethics of Sex

Subject PHIL40016 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 (1x 2 hour seminar each week)
Total Time Commitment: An average of 10 hours per week
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: Students enrolling in this subject must have completed a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:
Subject Overview:

The subject explores the nature and moral significance of sex and the central issues in sexual morality. In the first part we look into the main conceptions of human sexuality: the traditional view of sex as meant for procreation, the 'romantic' view of sex as bound up with love, the understanding of sex as a body language, and the hedonist or 'plain sex' view. In the second part we discuss monogamy, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, sexual harassment, and rape


Students who successfully complete this subject will

  • have developed an understanding of the major philosophical theories of sexual morality
  • be able to apply this understanding in providing a critique of social norms and policy governing sexual behaviour

A 5000-word research essay 100% (due at the end of semester).

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Students who fail to meet this hurdle requirement will be deemed ineligible to submit the final piece of assessment for this subject. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Ethics and Sex (Igor Primoratz) London and New York: Routledge, 1999

Recommended Texts:

Igor Primoratz (ed.), Human Sexuality, Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 1997

Alan Soble (ed.), Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia, Westport, CN and London: Greenwood Press, 2006

Donald Phillip Verene (ed.), Sexual Love in Western Philosophy, 2 nd edn., Boston: Jones & Bartlett, 1995

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have improved their ability to integrate abstract moral and conceptual considerations with relevant empirical data
  • have refined the skills necessary for original research by developing the capacity to think rigorously, imaginatively and critically about abstract topics
  • have refined the skills required for written communication of research
  • have strengthened their ability to comprehend and evaluate complex argumentative texts
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Ethics
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
Social Theory

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