Reflection Paper #1
Thomas A. Mappes and Raja Halwani, two significant philosophers of moral theory hold different views regarding sexual morality. Throughout this literature I will address, establish, and compare the views of each philosopher to that of the conservative position, explain what moral theories they use to derive their conclusions, and attempt to tackle with the best of my ability the scenario regarding what Mappes would say about adultery(the focus of Halwani) using the same beliefs and guidelines he outlines in the class readings.
In order to understand the contents of this piece of literature it is necessary to know the conservative view on sexuality morality. I will take the time to do so now.
The view held by the Vatican is synonymous with that of the conservative position and as such I will refer to the Vatican arguments regarding premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality. The conservative position rejects sexual relations outside of marriage because marriage is viewed as the ultimate pact that a man and woman can make. It is akin to a promise to a make one another flourish, to be happy and of course be faithful. According to the conservative Christian belief system adultery breaks this trust and thus is wrong. In addition, the Vatican clearly voices the belief that premarital sex is just as wrong. Conservatives claim that nonmarital sex cannot guarantee the sincerity and fidelity of a relationship, nor protect it against changes in desire, yet marriage can guarantee these things. Furthermore, sex is permissible only if it takes place in a context where commitment is guaranteed. Thus, sex outside of marriage, including premarital sex, is not permissible (morally wrong). Looking beyond straight marriage, the conservative view also rejects homosexual relationships on the grounds that sexual activity that violates the proper function of the sex organs is wrong. Homosexual activity violates the proper function of the sex organs; therefore, homosexual activity is wrong. In summation, the conservative is against any and all sex outside of marriage as well as homosexuality. Now that I have explained the conservative position, I will now move onto how both the views of Mappes and Halwani differ from that of the conservative as well as distinguish one from another.
In his piece titled, “A Liberal View of Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person”, Thomas A. Mappes develops a liberal view regarding sexual morality (90). He accomplishes this task by essentially aligning his beliefs with Kantian ethics, specifically addressing the Kantian belief that one ought to use humans as means in themselves, not means to an end. In other words, using people is morally wrong. First, he concludes that when voluntary informed consent is given then an action is morally good or at the very least okay; however when voluntary informed consent is not granted then the preceding action(s) is/are morally wrong (91). Mappes then proceeds to address sexual morality by giving eight cases in order to establish when someone is being used. In short, the cases involve person A attempting to participate in sexual activity with person B. Throughout these eight cases Mappes explains that voluntary informed consent can be broken not only when person A deceives B, coerces B, but also takes advantage of B’s desperate situation (100). Thus, if none of the aforementioned scenarios take place, you can assume that involuntary consent is given and consequently morally okay. This view drastically differs from that of the conservative on two major platforms: sex out outside of marriage and homosexuality. While Mappes makes no mention of homosexuality, it is can be inferred that by following his belief system, he would not be against it, so long as the actions that occur are not characterized by coercion, deception, and/or taking advantage of someone’s desperate situation. Note that these three principles also allow sex