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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

What is a sexual orientation? Seminar

Ceramic skull
16:00 - 18:00
14 May 2019
Room 2115, Building 65, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton SO17 1BF

Event details

Philosophy seminar

Abstract: Here's a collection of truisms about sexual orientation. (To avoid confusion, I'll use 'sex' to refer to sexual activity, and 'Sex', capitalised, to refer to biological sex.)

"A sexual orientation is a relatively stable sexual preference of a person, which has a special significance compared to other sexual preferences. Its possession causes a person to sexually desire, be aroused by, and exhibit other sexually-motivated behaviour towards, only those people of a particular Sex. The nature of a subject's sexual orientation, in a particular case, is type-identified in virtue of two features: a) the Sex of the subject who possesses the orientation; b) the Sex of the type of person typically desired by the subject. A heterosexual or straight orientation is one which causes one sexually desire (etc.) only people of the opposite Sex to oneself. A homosexual (gay or lesbian) orientation causes one to sexually desire (etc.) only people of the same Sex as oneself."

Lately these claims have ceased to be truistic. In some circles, they're even treated as very out-of-date. In this paper, I'll defend this view against multiple challenges, actual and potential.

The room for this talk has limited capacity, and seats will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

This series of seminars is sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Speaker information

Kathleen Stock , University of Sussex. Professor of Philosophy

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