Discussion of: Confronting Sexual Nihilism

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Charles F. Kielkopf
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Welcome to those interested in examing the philosophical foundations of sexual morality.

What is the mission of this site?

This website is to promote and offer for sale the book: Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional sexual morality as an antidote to nihilism..This book is an examination of philosophical foundations for sexual morality to justify what can be fairly called "traditional sexual morality." It is a philosophy book. Neither this site nor the book offer anything of erotic interest.

The author is Charles F. Kielkopf, Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus), The Ohio State University. Click to go to my ABOUT ME page.
The publisher is Tate Publishing and Enterprises.
The book in both a standard and e-book format has been released by the publisher March 11, 2014 .

What is the book about?

The book's two-pronged line of argument is as follows.

I. From a secular perspective only pursuing development of moral character gives meaning to life.
But a well founded pursuit of moral character development requires moral rules specifically for control of sexuality
So, from a secular perspective moral rules specifically for control of sexuality are required to have a meaning for life.

II. Traditional sexual morality is part of a character development morality with specific moral rules for sexuality sufficient to give meaning to life.

For whom is the book written?

The book is a quasi-professional work because it is written to reach a larger readership than professional philosophers. However, professional philosophers will find the book valuable. It raises many issues which professional philosophers need to develop or critique

The book is ideal for supplementary reading in a wide variety of courses or seminars. Besides philosophy courses, sexual morality is of concern in psychology, sociology, women studies, etc.. Outside academia, the book could profitably be discussed by church groups, youth groups, etc.,. Email the distributor for a free pdf exam copy .

Buying the book is acquiring a privilege of having on-going conversation with the author. Possessors of the book can contact the author with questions about and challenges to the book. Email Kielkopf @ Ohio State or kielkopf@sexualnihilism.org .

This site and the book will be supplemented with Blog posts from my Blogging site.
Also this site will be used for receiving, posting, and replying to email questions about topics in the book.

What are the chapter titles?

Chapter titles are as follows:

Chapter I, Introduction, A Catholic Arguing in a Secular Fourm
Chapter II, Sexual Trivialization as Sexual Alienation
Chapter III, Sexual Demonization as Sexual Alienation
Chapter IV, Case for the Paternal Principle from the Parental Stance
Chapter V,Kant, Empirical Facts, Consequentialist Reasoning
Chapter VI,The Paternal Principle in Male Sexual Nature
Chapter VII, Living in Sin with The Paternal Principle
Chapter VIII, Against Artificial Birth Control
Chapter IX, Nihilism and its Antidotes
Chapter X, Sexual Nihilism and Alternative Stances
Chapter XI, Pragmatice Defense of Parental Stance
Chapter XII,Conflict Evasions, Stance Dimensions
Analytic Table of Contents

What are some philosophically provocative theses proposed?

  • From a secular perspective only the moral obligation to develop moral character can give significance to human life.
  • A notion of moral character sufficient for giving significance to human life requires holding that there are morally correct and morally incorrect ways to exercise sexuality independently of any pleasures or pains produced by the sexual activity.

    The perspective that sexual activity is morally evaluated only by its consequences, I call sexual nihilism because it holds that in principle any sexual activity is morally permissible. One sense of 'nihilism' is 'everything is permitted.'

  • From the perspective that there are morally correct and incorrect ways for sexuality to be exercised moral principles expressing what can be fairly called "traditional sexual morality" are justified.
  • But only one traditional principle of sexual morality is defended and elaborated in detail. It is called the"paternal principle" and is expressed as follows.
    The Paternal Principle,
    A male may intentionally attain a sexual climax only in sexual intercourse with a consenting woman to whom he is bound by a life-long monogamous socially recognized union for procreation,
    In addition he should:
    (1) intend to cooperate with his spouse to protect and promote the lifelong natural development of any conception resulting from this intercourse and
    (2) strive to appreciate with his spouse the natural value of their sexual satisfactions and cooperate with her to enhance those satisfactions.
  • The Paternal Principle is used in a Kantian moral framework to evaluate men's sexual actions and sexual moral character.

    A man's maxim for sexual acts is morally permissible only if it is consistent with the Paternal Principle.

I hope these theses provoke some interest.

Please email observations and thoughts about my project to Charles F. Kielkopf

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Document downloads

A draft of the Preface in which the book is dedicated to Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI. explains why the author's Catholicism is not presupposed in arguments of the book.