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» One Touch Football - Archive » World » Eliot Spitzer and changing my mind. aka Why is sex special? (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Eliot Spitzer and changing my mind. aka Why is sex special?
The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Well, I'm not sure sex with a seventeen year-old is paedophilia, whatever else it is.

A kid could also help themselves to one of their Mum's painkillers, or whatever. If it's a serious danger and can't be guarded against, then that's another reason not to grant "pick up mum's crack from the chemist/offie" as falling under premise A.

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ooh aah
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sure, but most children are under the age of consent.
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Wyatt Earp
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I don't think incest is a moral surd, I think the proscription can be based on mutually supporting Kantian and consequentialist reasoning. Such reasoning can have to do with the likelihood, and the likely consequences, of coerced, or quasi-coerced ("browbeaten", you might say), sex based on the abuse of influence. Kantian principles of personal autonomy, and arguments deriving from the known evil consequences of sexual coercion in particular, are here in agreement.

Similar arguments may well apply in the case of prostitution, but the case must be argued on its merits, and we need a counter to the argument that legalisation will help maximise the autonomy of the worker, which is (so this argument runs) most severely compromised when the industry operates underground.

Prostitution is legal in the UK, incidentally, though so many of its ancillary activities are illegal that it is effectively an underground activity.

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Purves Grundy
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quote:
But so is prostitution.
Oops. No it isn't.
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Purves Grundy
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Oh, beaten to the punch.
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Wyatt - don't similar Kantian arguments apply to "forcing" a kid to eat their greens? Kant presumes the rationality of the agent as a necessary condition of treating the agent thus. Usually, where we don't consider minors sufficiently rational, we expect the parent to determine their interests. I can't see any non-question-begging reason to do otherwise here.

ooh aah - well, a fifteen year-old is still a greey area in terms of "paedophilia". In any case, the contention here is that there are uncontroversial cases in which parental will trumps considerations of age, and the issue is why we should think that sex isn't one of them.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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quote:
Prostitution is legal in the UK, incidentally
Yep, sorry. The debate arises from a US context, though we can equally make it about whether or not prostitutions should be illegal in the UK. In any case, just what we are concerned with is the justification of its legal status, so appeals to its legal status for disanalogies are question-begging.
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Wyatt Earp
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quote:
Wyatt - don't similar Kantian arguments apply to "forcing" a kid to eat their greens? Kant presumes the rationality of the agent as a necessary condition of treating the agent thus. Usually, where we don't consider minors sufficiently rational, we expect the parent to determine their interests. I can't see any non-question-begging reason to do otherwise here.
Yeah, sorry, I was still on the 17-year-old. As it were. Where the child is debarred from consenting anyway, those arguments don't come into play in the same way.

Although of course the law does recognise children's interests as autonomous from, and indeed precedent over, those of their parents, and is actually fairly frequently prepared to overrule parental decisions.

I wasn't arguing a case for prostitution's legality from prostitution's legality, by the way, I was just making one of them parenthetical interjection things. My point was that it wouldn't be possible, in reply to our hypothetical legaliser, to point to the fact that prostitution's legal and yet underground in the UK as evidence that it's inevitably underground, because of the other legal restrictions that surround it here.

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lyra
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I don't think sex is different so much as *incest* in particular. I can see that an argument along the lines of 'it will damage the child's mental health' won't wash, after all, having to mow the lawn might, too. but the incest taboo is common to (arguably) every society, isn't it? However the anthropological reasons may be related to the biological reasons.

Apologies by the way as I know fuck all about Kant. We classicists are still stuck back with Vernant and Vidal-Naquet

[ 18.03.2008, 16:35: Message edited by: lyra ]

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Wyatt Earp
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Parent-child incest is ethically very different from sibling-sibling incest, I think, to the extent that it's unfortunate that we use the same term.
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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quote:
I wasn't arguing a case for prostitution's legality from prostitution's legality, by the way, I was just making one of them parenthetical interjection things.
Yeah, I know. I was just explaining the context of the original comment I made, which you were the first to pick up on.
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lyra
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Yes Wyatt and I'd have to do some research on which is most commonly proscriebd in which societies etc. I belive father/daughter and mother/son incest are often differentiated, too
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Bored Of The Dance
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Can I just interrupt this slightly loopy thread to point out that
quote:
You also can't ask your kids to:

- Drive you to the airport

is apparently untrue and, not only that, you can ask them to do it at 4 in the morning as well
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Dr. Hofzinser
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Something I thought of last night as I was pondering this is this:

The whole argument in the opening post seems to rest upon the assumption that when a child is given chores around the house to do, it is directly comparable to an economic transaction like hiring a plumber, because there is some sort of quid pro quo agreement in place (you do the chores, we'll give you food, shelter, pocket money etc.).

However, I don't think this is how things work at all in normal family households. It works much more, I'd say, like a commune than a market economy, with a pooling of resources among all members of the household, and a division of labour according to whichever house rules exist. Moreover, parents don't give their children food and shelter because their children do the washing up every night but because it is their duty to do so. It's not a quid pro quo at all but simply an exercising of duties on each side - the parents carry out their duties relating to providing for their children, and the children carry out any duties ascribed to them as members of the household. But it's not an economic transaction at all. Even if the child refused to do the dishes, the parents would have no right to deny them food indefinitely. However recalcitrant your child is, you still have a duty of care with regards to them.

It may well be reasonable to ask your child to do some jobs around the house but only because as members of the "commune" they have a responsibility to do their bit towards its smooth-running - not as part of some sort of economic transaction.

And if there is an explicit economic transaction involved - eg wash the car and I'll give you 1 - then the child may accept or reject this offer - there are no parental rights involved at all.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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I think that's all correct.

But I don't think it changes the problem any; it's precisely because the communal nature of family life is recognsied as different that usual legal standards don't apply...

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