Sex and Punishment

Author: Eric Berkowitz
Publisher: Counterpoint
ISBN: 1619021552
Format: PDF, Docs
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The “raging frenzy” of the sex drive, to use Plato’s phrase, has always defied control. However, that’s not to say that the Sumerians, Victorians, and every civilization in between and beyond have not tried, wielding their most formidable weapon: the law. At any given point in time, some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump forward or backward a century or two (and often far less than that), and the harmless fun of one time period becomes the gravest crime in another. Sex and Punishment tells the story of the struggle throughout the millennia to regulate the most powerful engine of human behavior. Writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz uses flesh-and-blood cases—much flesh and even more blood—to evoke the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for “gross indecency.” The cast of Sex and Punishment is as varied as the forms taken by human desire itself: royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes, London rent boys. Each of them had forbidden sex, and each was judged—and justice, as Berkowitz shows, rarely had much to do with it. With the light touch of a natural storyteller, Berkowitz spins these tales and more, going behind closed doors to reveal the essential history of human desire.

The Boundaries of Desire

Author: Eric Berkowitz
Publisher: Counterpoint
ISBN: 1619026465
Format: PDF, Docs
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The act of reproduction, and all of its variants, have been practiced in roughly the same ways since the beginning, but our ideas about the meaning and consequences ¬of sex are in constant flux. At any given point in time, some forms of sex have been encouraged, while others have been punished without mercy. Jump forward or backward a century, or cross a border, and the harmless fun of one society becomes the gravest crime in another. Beginning at the point when courts guarded the sanctity of the “family home” by permitting men to rape their wives, continuing on through the “sexual revolution,” a period that transformed traditional notions of childhood and marriage, and extending into the present day (where debates surrounding gay marriage, sex trafficking, and sex on the internet are part of our daily lives), Berkowitz explores the ways nearly every aspect of Western sexual morality has been turned on its head, with the law always one or two steps behind. By focusing on the experiences of real people who played central roles in the formation of our sexual rights, Berkowitz adds a compelling human element to what might otherwise be faceless legal battles—ultimately arguing that compassion for others is always preferable to sanctimonious condemnation, and that questions about morals and sexual laws are too complicated and volatile to resolve through simple, catch-all solutions.

Objection

Author: Debra Lieberman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190491302
Format: PDF, ePub
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Why do we consider incest wrong, even when it occurs between consenting adults unable to have children? Why are words that gross us out more likely to be deemed "obscene" and denied the protection of the First Amendment? In a world where a gruesome photograph can decisively influence a jury and homosexual behavior is still condemned by some as "unnatural," it is worth asking: is our legal system really governed by the power of reason? Or do we allow a primitive human emotion, disgust, to guide us in our lawmaking? In Objection, psychologists Debra Lieberman and Carlton Patrick examine disgust and its impact on the legal system to show why the things that we find stomach-turning so often become the things that we render unlawful. Shedding light on the evolutionary and psychological origins of disgust, the authors reveal how ancient human intuitions about what is safe to eat or touch, or who would make an advantageous mate, have become co-opted by moral systems designed to condemn behavior and identify groups of people ripe for marginalization. Over time these moral stances have made their way into legal codes, and disgust has thereby served as the impetus for laws against behaviors almost universally held to be "disgusting" (corpse desecration, bestiality) - and as the implicit justification for more controversial prohibitions (homosexuality, use of pornography). Written with a critical eye on current events, Lieberman and Patrick build a case for a more reasoned approach to lawmaking in a system that often confuses "gross" with "wrong."

Love A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ronald de Sousa
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191640522
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Although there are many kinds of love, erotic love has been celebrated in art and poetry as life's most rewarding and exalting experience, worth living and dying for and bringing out the best in ourselves. And yet it has excused, and even been thought to justify, the most reprehensible crimes. Why should this be? This Very Short Introduction explores this and other puzzling questions. Do we love someone for their virtue, their beauty, or their moral or other qualities? Are love's characteristic desires altruistic or selfish? Are there duties of love? What do the sciences - neuroscience, evolutionary and social psychology, and anthropology - tell us about love? Many of the answers we give to such questions are determined not so much by the facts of human nature as by the ideology of love. Ronald de Sousa considers some of the many paradoxes raised by love, looking at the different kinds of love - affections, affiliation, philia, storage, agape, but focusses on eros, or romantic love. He considers whether our conventional beliefs about love and sex are deeply irrational and argues that alternative conceptions of love and sex, although hard to formulate and live by, may be worth striving for. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Author: Thomas Hobbes
Publisher:
ISBN: 9789602350195
Format: PDF, Mobi
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