1st Edition

Sex, Family, and the Culture Wars

By Mark J. Cherry Copyright 2016
    362 Pages
    by Routledge

    362 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Extraordinary social and moral shifts have taken place in Western societies. Sex is no longer the exclusive province of husband and wife set within monogamous married family life. The world is awash in sex: advertising, books, magazines, movies, sex clubs, internet pornography, etc. Parents, traditionally responsible for guiding their children's moral and social development, have been effectively side-lined by commercial and governmental interests.

    This volume pursues a detailed study of how changes in social life dating from the sexual revolution of the 1960s have affected the family. Cherry shows that attempts to redefine the family away from the marital union of husband and wife come with real costs: social, emotional, psychological, and financial. He argues that while political campaigns have fuelled attempts to undermine the traditional family, to pretend it possesses no basic biological, social, or moral reality, such ideologically driven undertakings are injurious to society.

    Acting as if there are no consequential differences between traditional marriage and other sexual lifestyles ignores significant data demonstrating the importance of the traditional biological family to the well-being of men and women, and the successful raising of children. The family possesses a biological and moral being that is foundational; an essential building block of society. Cherry argues that the family is the most incontrovertible field of conflict in the culture wars; others might conclude that it is the decisive battleground.

    Contents Acknowledgments 1 Sex, Family, and the Culture Wars: An Introduction 1.1 Sex and the Family 1.2 Traditional versus Post-traditional Family Life: Contested Grounds in the Culture Wars 1.3 The Family and Its Role in Human Flourishing 1.4 Shifting Sexual Mores and Uncomfortable Social Consequences 1.5 A God's Eye Perspective on the Family 1.6 Four Heuristic Accounts of the Family 1.7 A Final Warning 2 The Family as a Sociobiological Reality 2.1 Socio-biology and the Human Family 2.2 Altruism, Kinship, and the Family: The Importance of Inclusive Fitness 2.3 Sexual Divergence—Human Reproductive Strategies and Sex Differences 2.4 Conclusion: Heterosexual Normativity, Patriarchal Families, Paternalism, and Other Political Controversies 3 The Family as a De Facto Category of Social Reality 3.1 The Family as a Central Category of Experience, Being, and Knowledge 3.2 The Family as a Sui Generis Category of Social Reality: The Being of the Family for Thought and Thought's Apprehension of the Family's Being 3.3 Individual Interactions that Become Familial Interactions 3.4 Conceptualizing the Social Implications of the Sociobiological Data 3.5 Conclusion: The Rejection of a Nominalist Account of the Family 4 God and the Philosopher; Or Why a God's Eye Perspective Is Necessary to Secure a Particular Account of the Family 4.1 The Necessity of a God's Eye Perspective 4.2 God's Perspective on Reality as a Regulative Ideal 4.3 The Atheistic Methodological Postulate versus the Theistic Methodological Postulate: Competing Views of the Reality of the Family 4.4 Conclusion: Without God Moral Pluralism Cannot Be Resolved 5 The Family as a Liberal Social-Constructivist Social Entity 5.1 A Moral and Political Ideological Agenda 5.2 Idealized Liberty and Equality 5.3 Homosexual Marriage and Other Non-traditional Families 5.4 The Liberation of Children 5.5 The Mature Minor: Conceptual Puzzles 5.6 Conclusion: A Destructive Ethos 6 Deregulating Family Life: The Family as a Libertarian Constructivist Social Entity 6.1 Experiments in Living 6.2 Liberty as a Side Constraint—The Family as a Face-to-Face Voluntary Association 6.3 Families May Have Unequal Power Relationships, Embody Nonliberal Accounts of the Good, Discriminate, and Violate Redistributive Justice 6.4 Conclusion: The Limits of Legitimate Governmental Authority 7 The Family and the Fundamentalist Secular State: The Establishment at Law of a Fully Secular Ideology 7.1 Return to the Culture Wars 7.2 Faith in God versus Faith in Reason— The Creation of Secularism 7.3 The Attempt to Construct an International Secular Morality: The Human Rights Agenda 7.4 Deep Moral and Epistemological Ambiguity: Human Rights as a Modus Vivendi 7.5 Conclusion: A Secular World in Crisis 8 Sex, Abortion, and Ideological Entrenchment: At the Brink of Nihilism 8.1 Devout Secularism 8.2 Shifts in Taken-for-Granted Sexual Mores 8.3 Why Abortion Is Central 8.4 Living Honestly with Significant Moral Pluralism 8.5 At the Brink of Nihilism: Recapturing the Family References Index


    Mark J. Cherry