The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory and Ethics of Sexual Orientation

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Oxford University Press, 1999 - Social Science - 388 pages
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In the last decade, fierce controversy has arisen over the nature of sexual orientation. Scientific research, religious views, increasingly ambiguous gender roles, and the growing visibility of sexual minorities have sparked impassioned arguments about whether our sexual desires are hard-wired in our genes or shaped by the changing forces of society.
In recent years scientific research and popular opinion have favored the idea that sexual orientations are determined at birth, but philosopher and educator Edward Stein argues that much of what we think we know about the origins of sexual desire is probably wrong. Stein provides a comprehensive overview of such research on sexual orientation and shows that it is deeply flawed. Stein argues that this research assumes a picture of sexual desire that reflects unquestioned cultural stereotypes rather than cross-cultural scientific facts, and that it suffers from serious methodological problems. He considers whether sexual orientation is even amenable to empirical study and asks if it is useful for our understanding of human nature to categorize people based on their sexual desires. Perhaps most importantly, Stein examines some of the ethical issues surrounding such research, including gay and lesbian civil rights and the implications of parents trying to select or change the sexual orientation of their children.
The Mismeasure of Desire offers a reasoned, accessible, and incisive examination of contemporary thinking about one of the most hotly debated issues of our time and adds a compelling voice of dissent to prevailing--and largely unexamined--assumptions about human sexuality.

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The mismeasure of desire: the science, theory, and ethics of sexual orientation

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

As with most gems of philosophical debate, Stein's book poses a lot more questions than it answers, but his intelligent, well-researched, and well-written primer should be the first title on any queer ... Read full review

Review: The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory and Ethics of Sexual Orientation

User Review  - Nicole - Goodreads

if you only read one queer theory text (although i don't know why you'd stop at one...) this should be it. accessible enough to bring to the beach (i think) but will reshape your way of thinking. definitely one of my top five most influential books. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
Metaphysics
18
Sexual Orientation
93
Copyright

11 other sections not shown

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About the author (1999)


Edward Stein is the author of Without Good Reason: The Rationality Debate in Philosophy and Cognitive Science (OUP) and the editor of Forms of Desire: Sexual Orientation and the Social Constructionist Controversy. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from M.I.T. and has taught at Yale University, New York University, Mount Holyoke College, and Williams College. He will be receiving a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2000.

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