I defend an account of sexual orientation, understood as a reflexive disposition to be sexually attracted to people of a particular biological Sex or Sexes. An orientation is identified in terms of two aspects: the Sex of the subject who has the disposition, and whether that Sex is the same as, or different to, the Sex to which the subject is disposed to be attracted. I explore this account in some detail and defend it from several challenges. In doing so, (...) I provide a theoretical framework that justifies our continued reference to Sex-directed sexual orientation as an important means of classifying human subjects. (shrink)
Culture or Biology? The question can seem deep and important. Yet, I argue in this chapter, if you are enthralled by questions about our biological differences, then you are probably confused. My goal is to diagnose the confusion. In debates about the role of biology in the social world it is easy to ask the wrong questions, and it is easy to misinterpret the scientific research. We are intuitively attracted to what is called psychological essentialism, and therefore interpret what is (...) biological as what can be traced to “essences”. On this interpretation, it would be deep and important to know what about, say, the differences between the genders is biological: it would correspond to what is essential to being a man or being a woman, and be opposed to what is a mere accidental feature that some women or some men have. Yet, the psychological essentialist understanding of ‘biological differences’ is deeply mistaken about biology. It has the wrong conception of biological kinds, of biological heritability, and of how genes and hormones work. Those who argue for an important role of ‘biology’ in the explanation of human differences often see ‘the science’ on their side. But this is false – on the interpretation of ‘biological differences’ that is most intuitive and that makes the question appear to be most interesting. Defenders of ‘biology’ often have the science against them. What is often called ‘biology’ is a myth: a myth created by an intuitive tendency that grotesquely distorts real biological research. (shrink)
This paper is a review of how biological as well as other scientific theories, concepts and findings have been used to answer philosophical questions regarding the nature of male homosexuality. We argue that while these sciences are certainly relevant for present philosophical debates, few of the different philosophical issues surrounding male homosexuality can be settled by science alone. In the first section, we introduce a number of various essentialist and constructivist views on (male) homosexuality. The second section focuses on the (...) innateness debate over homosexuality. In the last section, we assess the typically constructivist critiques of biological research into homosexuality. (shrink)
For a balanced discussion of the main social, medical, and philosophical aspects of homosexuality, here is the ideal book. Written by philosophers of science, each comprehensive chapter takes a critical look at research on the etiology of homosexuality. Read Philosophy and Homosexuality and examine the evidence for both the sociobiological and hormonal explanations of homosexuality and study the definitions of sexual orientation and how they have affected research.