The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory and Ethics of Sexual Orientation
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.
80 pages matching chapter in this book
Results 1-3 of 80
What people are saying - Write a review
The mismeasure of desire: the science, theory, and ethics of sexual orientationUser Review - 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 studies reading list. Stein, a law degree candidate and philosophy lecturer from Yale, critically examines the entire concept of scientific research into sexual orientation. The book is divided into three parts: metaphysical (i.e., What is sexual orientation?), scientific (Where does it come from?), and ethical (What should be done with knowledge gained from such research?). The work builds beautifully from the fundamentals, refining the often mixed-up concepts of sexual desire, orientation, and gender. The two major branches of scientific research into sexual orientation are also examined. Finally, Stein explores the ethical questions raised by the application of results of this research. More interesting and more accessible than its rather daunting title would suggest, this book is highly recommended for most larger libraries and all gay studies collections.--Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., OR ...
Review: The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation (Ideologies of Desire)User Review - Brian - Goodreads
Extensively-researched, persuasive, and respectful of the many views and opinions on the topic of human sexual orientation that exist, while sticking doggedly to facts. Basically, sexual orientation ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation
No preview available - 2001