Sexual Ethics

“In response to Farley, do you think there are any universal sexual norms in addition to consent? (Consent is one of the seven norms she proposes as universal for all human cultures, sexualities, and genders.) Explain your position and the reason(s) behind it. Required length is at least 4, but not more than 5, double-spaced pages.”

In order to answer this question prompt well, you need to give your own point of view. You will not earn a high grade if you simply summarize what Farley wrote and then say “I agree.” I am looking for critical engagement with Farley’s ideas, so if you do agree with her in whole or in part, I need you to tell me why. If you disagree with her in whole or in part, I need you to tell me why.

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2. You can have a critical engagement with Farley’s proposal of 7 universal norms in a lot of different ways. You might think that all seven norms are perfect as she states them. You might think that only norm #2, free consent, is necessary. You might think that some of the norms are basically right, but you might want to rephrase, rearticulate, or modify them so that they are slightly different. You may want to add additional norms that she doesn’t propose but that you think are necessary. She views these norms both as minimal requirements and as aspirational ideals, so the ability of any real relationship to satisfy any of the norms is going to happen in degrees (more or less perfectly satisfied).

3. Make sure you actually answer the question prompt. If I can’t tell what your point of view on the question is, you will not earn a high grade.

4. Make sure you make sufficient references to Farley’s text. I can’t give you a minimum required number of references, since this depends on what you want to argue in your paper. The point of making a reference to the text is to support your argument and interpretation of another author.

5. Make sure your argument is coherent and consistent from beginning to end. If you contradict yourself, make sure it’s for a good reason.

6. Before you start writing, make sure you have read the entire section that lays out the theory and the implications of the seven norms (pp. 174-244), not just the key part in the middle where she tells you what the seven norms are (pp. 215-232). That way, you won’t come to premature conclusions or inaccurate interpretations of what Farley is trying to communicate to you as the reader.

7. Consider including some examples of how these norms would apply in actual, real, sexual relationships, so that your discussion of the norms doesn’t end up being too abstract or idealized. You can look at the examples Farley provides on pp. 232-240, but you don’t have to limit yourself to these ones if you want to use different examples that you think are more relevant.

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