[June 5] DU seminar: Prof Stan van Hooft on Sex, Temperance and Virtue

Deakin University seminar
Prof. Stan van Hooft (Deakin) presents ‘Sex, Temperance and Virtue’
Tuesday 5 June from 3.30-5pm in C2.05 on Deakin University’s Burwood campus

According to Raja Halwani, ‘The virtue of temperance and the vice of intemperance are the virtue and the vice when it comes to sex and sexual activity because they hit at the core of the issues of sex, namely sexual desire itself.’ The purpose of my paper is to elaborate on this claim, critique parts of it, and offer a fuller account of the virtues that pertain to sex. I begin by criticising Halwani’s conception of virtue ethics and accuse him of wrongly importing considerations from moral theory. I then explore his neo-Aristotelian account of temperance, arguing that it fails to capture what is distinctive about sexuality so as to raise specifically virtue-ethical concerns as opposed to moral ones. Halwani’s dependence on the notion of moral wrongness in relation to sexuality cannot be supported in an Aristotelian framework. I then invoke Michel Foucault to argue that the sphere of sexuality is marked by distinctive ethical constraints that tie in with Aristotle’s concept of eudaimonia and that the virtue of temperance should therefore be conceived differently.

Stan van Hooft is Professor of Philosophy at Deakin University. He is the author of numerous works including, most recently, Hope (Acumen, 2011) and Cosmopolitanism: A Philosophy for Global Ethics (Acumen, 2009), which was shortlisted for the Australian Museum Eureka prize for research in ethics in 2010. Professor van Hooft’s current research centres on Global Ethics and Political Philosophy, the concept of caring in contemporary moral theory and the role of hope in politics and religion.

The 2012 Deakin University seminar series is hosted by the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University.

This Deakin University seminar series is free to attend and open to all. Please direct any inquiries to Dr Sean Bowden at s.bowden@deakin.edu.au.

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