One body but many kinds of sex and procreation: A liberal response

David Archard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I contrast a liberal and a conservative approach to the morality of sex, endorsing the former with a concession as to the special nature of sex, and note Pruss' philosophical and theological endorsement of the latter. I criticize his argumentative strategy in three regards: first, he defends Christian love as equivalent to benevolence; second, he allows for only a moral evaluation of sex; third, he moves too quickly from some factual claims to others, and thence to normative conclusions. His account of the moral impermissibility of non-veridical pleasures trades on ambiguities in 'real' pleasure. I respond to three arguments Pruss offers against IVF: gamete donors can discharge their parental obligations; reproduction need not only be by coitus; and those who use fertility treatment need not thereby do wrong in treating any resultant child as an 'artefact'. I conclude with critical observations about the distance between Pruss' views and those commonly held by most people, including increasing numbers of Catholics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalRoczniki Filozoficzne
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2015


  • Alexander R. Pruss
  • Procreation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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