Liberalism and Prostitution

New York, US: Oup Usa (2009)
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Abstract

Civil libertarians characterize prostitution as a "victimless crime," and argue that it ought to be legalized. Feminist critics counter that prostitution is not victimless, since it harms the people who do it. Civil libertarians respond that most women freely choose to do this work, and that it is paternalistic for the government to limit a person's liberty for her own good. In this book Peter de Marneffe argues that although most prostitution is voluntary, paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are nonetheless morally justifiable. If prostitution is commonly harmful in the way that feminist critics maintain, then this argument for prostitution laws is not objectionably moralistic and some prostitution laws violate no one's rights. Paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are therefore consistent with the fundamental principles of contemporary liberalism.

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Peter de Marneffe
Arizona State University

Citations of this work

Prostitution, disability and prohibition.Frej Klem Thomsen - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (6):451-459.
Perfectionism in moral and political philosophy.Steven Wall - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
All Liberty is Basic.Jessica Flanigan - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (4):455-474.
Paternalism by and towards groups.Kalle Grill - 2018 - In Kalle Grill & Jason Hanna (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism. Routledge. pp. 46-58.

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