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Pedophilia and Adult–Child Sex

A Philosophical Analysis

Stephen Kershnar

This book provides a philosophical analysis of adult–child sex and pedophilia. This sex intuitively strikes many people as sick, disgusting, and wrong. The problem is that it is not clear whether these judgments are justified and whether they are aesthetic or moral. By analogy, many people find it disgusting to view images of obese people having sex, but it is hard to see what is morally undesirable about such sex: here the judgment is aesthetic. This book looks at the moral status of such adult-child sex. In particular, it explores whether those who engage in adult-child sex have a disease, act wrongly, or are vicious. In addition, it looks at how the law should respond to such sex given the above analyses.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 192Size: 6 x 9 1/8
978-1-4985-0446-1 • Hardback • May 2015 • $80.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4985-0445-4 • Paperback • April 2017 • $42.99 • (£29.95)
978-1-4985-0447-8 • eBook • May 2015 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Stephen Kershnar is professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Chapter One: Adult–Child Sex, Pedophilia, and Hebophilia
Chapter Two: Disease
Chapter Three: Adult–Child Sex and Backward-Looking Reasons
Chapter Four: How Consent Works
Chapter Five: Exploitation
Chapter Six: Adult–Child Sex and Forward-Looking Reasons
Chapter Seven: Pedophilic Fantasies
Chapter Eight: Criminalization
Stephen Kershnar¹s latest book will be relevant to anyone interested in the ethics of interacting with children, the ethics of sex, and, needless to say, the ethics of sex with children. Plausibly maintaining that emotional reactions of disgust and knee-jerk appeals to intuition are not enough to ground normative judgment, Kershnar engages in a comprehensive and thorough philosophical discussion of various facets of adult-child sex. He provides plausible conceptual analyses of key concepts, usefully distinguishes between various kinds of adult-child sex (depending on the nature of the parties, the use of force, the infliction of pain, and so on), and advances thoughtful—albeit controversial—answers to the questions of whether and when adult-child sex is an instance of mental illness, wrong action, or bad character.
Thaddeus Metz, University of Johannesburg