Same-Sex Marriage and Philosophy Revisited


How Academic Philosophers Are Trying to End the Gay-Marriage Debate—and Getting it Wrong” is the title of a new article in the National Review. Written by University of Colorado Ph.D. student Spencer Case, the article picks up on a discussion had here at Daily Nous about the matter back in November.

Despite their field’s reputation for interminable controversy, academic philosophers do consider some topics resolved — and a number now think the same-sex marriage debate is one of them.  The case in favor of same-sex marriage has been so firmly established, they believe, that further dialogue is at best a waste of time, and at worst an affirmation of bigotry.

The article mentions my “temperate” remarks on the matter, but Case’s main concern is to show, first, that the question is not resolved, and second, that, because of this, it is a mistake for philosophers to view and treat those who favor different marriage rights for heterosexual and same-sex couples as necessarily appealing to a “presumption in favor of tradition” or as “vile hatemongers with views beyond the pale.” I’d be curious to hear about instances or ways in which philosophers, in their professional roles as teachers and researchers, are falling afoul of the concern expressed in Case’s second point. Comments on Case’s arguments for his first point are welcome, too, bearing in mind that they were presented in a column for a political news magazine, and not an academic journal, and so were likely abbreviated and simplified. (Also, he notes in an email that the title, subheading, and some wording in the article were not his choices.)

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