- Series: Inalienable Rights
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (February 18, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195305310
- ISBN-13: 978-0195305319
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1 x 5.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (Inalienable Rights Series) 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
A meticulous consideration of the legal issues surrounding same-sex relations grounded in a far-reaching investigation of how the notion of disgust has determined both civil legislation and public opinion. Identifying a politics of disgust that centers on irrational fears of contamination, penetrability, and loss of social solidarity, Nussbaum (Hiding from Humanaity) opposes such problematic foundations for legislation with her own notion of a politics of humanity, based on the need for imaginative engagement with others. Linking imagination with America's founding principles of equality and respect, the author vindicates sexual orientation rights as instrumental to the pursuit of happiness, before engaging with contentious rulings on same-sex marriage, sodomy, and discrimination. An elegant and eloquent defender of sexual freedom, the author is at her best describing the insidious role of disgust in law. However, her frequent recourse to John Stuart Mill would seem to demand a more detailed defense of his ideas on harm, and her reflections on marriage add little to the debate. Nonetheless, as the recent public discourse about empathy among Supreme Court judges indicates, Nussbaum's passionate advocacy of the power of imagination is profound and timely. (Feb.)
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"A meticulous consideration of the legal issues surrounding same-sex relations grounded in a far-reaching investigation of how the notion of disgust has determined both civil legislation and public opinion...as the recent public discourse about empathy among Supreme Court judges indicates, Nussbaum's passionate advocacy of the power of imagination is profound and timely." -- Publishers Weekly
"Pity the enemies of gay equality who find themselves at intellectual odds with America's most prominent, and most prolific, philosopher of public life, Martha C. Nussbaum...Nussbaum presents a cogent and politically charged case against the unconstitutional legal arguments that have inhibited the privacy, marriage and full civil rights of gays and lesbians in the United States." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Groundbreaking...Her book makes the most hard-and-fast case for the legalization of same-sex marriage..." -- MS Magazine Blog
"In all, From Disgust to Humanity is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the same-sex marriage debate and for those who want to better understand the Constitution's role in our everyday lives." -- Trial Magazine
"A refreshingly candid and insightful stance on the perpetuation of the discrimination against homosexual men and women in the United States, From Disgust to Humanity makes a convincing case for the role of disgust in the formation of both public opinion and law...While [this book] would certainly provide a valuable read to students of constitutional law, this reviewer recommends it also to anyone who has observed with interest and would like to better understand the ebb and flow of progress apropos recent sexual orientation legislation in the United States."--Contemporary Sociology
"Disgust is all around us, but the book presents fresh arguments worth considering...Summing Up: Recommended."--CHOICE
Top customer reviews
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I think that everyone can gain from reading this book for the same reasons the preceding reviewers praised the book. My criticism is not meant to deter you from reading this book, but it is to make clear its limitation. By framing everything in terms of sex, rather than love, the author has allowed the homophobic community (sorry, couldn't think of a better word) to frame the discussion in a manner that will only continue the debate and at best produce little more than tolerance, rather than respect as equals, for members of the LGBT community.
Furthermore, the politics of disgust goes farther than just being a crappy guide for making laws. With persuasive argument, Martha posits that in the past and present the politics of disgust has been used as a tool of persecution and oppression again a variety of groups such as Women, Jews and the Dalit's of India. By projection, a person/group can take all of the grose uncomfortable ideas about their sex life/anatomy/body and project it onto another person/group (It would seem to explain the almost obsessive attention paid to anal sex by certain advocates against gay rights that taken at face value would indicate that heterosexuals never engage in anal sex!).
Martha Nussbaum upholds John Stuarts Mill harm principle, which provides justified legal regulations on sexual behavior such as consent and the age of majority on identifiable harms to non-consenting parties as the only proper basis for legislating against personal liberties in a pluralistic democracy.
Equality under the law. We have a bill of rights to protect it.
If that bill of rights dissapears with the whiff of public discomfort as people feel uncomfortable imagining what people might/might not be getting up to in the bedroom, what is it worth?