Philosophy Nagel Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Nagel's Sexual Perversions

"About multiple combinations," Nagel says of orgies and presumably other many-person sexual encounters, "the least that can be said is that they are bound to be complicated" (Nagel, 1969). [All references in this piece come from Nagel's original on the subject of Sexual Perversion.]

While this is appealing as an opening line, it seems a bit disingenuous, given what he thinks about average, ordinary, non-perverted sexuality. He defines sexuality as a psychological process of multiple steps of awareness of oneself and then another, and then that other person's awareness of us, which compounds their awareness of their own self and sexual interest. Here is how he describes this give-and-take awareness process: "Sexual desire involves a kind of perception, but not merely a single perception of its object, for in the paradigm case of mutual desire there is a complex system of superimposed mutual perceptions- not only perceptions of the sexual object, but perceptions of oneself."

Or put in another way, it is important to understand that conventional sexual attraction is itself complex if it gets the participants to the level of fulfillment that is expected. Nagel identifies a three-stage demarcation of activities that must occur for sexual attraction to formalize. Those three stages include, in general terms, a recognition that a proverbial "he senses that she senses that he senses her," or a give and take reiteration until both parties are aware of what the other wants and desires. It is in this way that one can distinguish how human sexuality in a proper form is different from the love of other object, such as food. No matter that one may try to convince oneself otherwise, the food most likely never takes into its psyche an awareness of how much pleasure it gives to its eater. There can be none of the reciprocity of awareness that goes through the steps toward sexual attentiveness and, potentially, sexual fulfillment.

It is this issue of fulfillment that comes into play in regards to what Nagel considers healthy sexuality (and thus not perverse sexuality). Though there might be nothing wrong with stopping anywhere along this continuum of self- and other-awareness, the act of completion cannot be achieved until or unless it is possible to reach a satisfactory conclusion that respects the other person not just as a person as something more than an object. Proper sex requires a socially beneficial outcome, which is thought to be something that recognizes each person individually. Yes, a sense of sexual attraction can begin for other reasons relating to beauty, physical appearance, attitude or wardrobe, but these objectifications must give way to a mutual humanizing of the people for the outcome to be complete.

Nagel essentially believes that there are two types of satisfactory completion of this process: perversion and non-perversion. Non-perversion is what might be considered fulfilling person-on-person sexual satisfaction to whatever level of completion is appropriate. This is presumably what two heterosexual people do, though there is no necessity for it to be a man and a woman (other than possibly gender role issues). Perverted sex, on the other hand, is what occurs when one stops advancing when still within the first or second level of the give and take. In his discussion of perverted sexuality, he goes through a variety of options that are thought to be regularly assumed perversities and shows how they are such because they happen from a failure to achieve the psychological awareness on both sides of the equation.

Take sadism, for example, or masochism. In either of these conditions, one party is effectively locked into his or her level of self-interest or heightened self-need. This makes it impossible for them to allow for the development of the bridge to the other person as either an object initially of desire and ultimately as a person satisfied through successful mingling. The infliction of pain and pleasure emanate from other psychological sources more specific to their individual conditions.

In a like manner, when a person finds the level of physiological stimulation with an object alone, there can be no completing of the cycle; which means that there can be no successful completion of the achievement of sexuality. Though he recognizes that it is possible for objects to be used in non-perverted (normal) sexuality, this is something entirely different that having the object as the entity…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Philosophy Nagel" (2011, December 17) Retrieved December 8, 2016, from

"Philosophy Nagel" 17 December 2011. Web.8 December. 2016. <>

"Philosophy Nagel", 17 December 2011, Accessed.8 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Philosophy Nagel Says That the

    First is the assumption of freewill and non-determinism in Nagel's argument. While I do not stand to make the argument for determinism here, it should suffice to say that if there is only the illusion of free-will, then death has deprived us of nothing in Nagel's view (because there is not even the possibility of continued life) and, thus, would not be evil. If we do not have an

  • Philosophy of Mind When Thinking

    However, when looking more closely at the specific philosophy suggested by Socrates, a more specific view appears to suggest itself. Socrates appears to favor the view that true knowledge is only possible once the soul separates itself from the body. For Socrates, the sense, i.e. touch, hearing, sight, taste, and smell only distract what he refers to as the "soul" from truly experiencing the nature of the external world. According

  • Nagel s Account of Intertheoretic Reduction

    Nagel's Model of Inter-Theoretic Reduction Nagel's Model of Inter-Theoretical Reduction Reductionism has to do with the classification of knowledge, particularly the classification of scientific knowledge. Many philosophers, such as Nagel, believe that the all current scientific knowledge can be broken down into discrete theories. Accordingly, progress in science is measured by the development of new theories. These theories are used to explore and control the phenomena in their domains and to systematise, organise

  • Bat Nagel Claims That it

    Nagel is telling us that if the one universal thing in imagining something is you, complete with all the character that make up you, and if one were to take those things away to try to imagine what it would be like to be something else, you would no longer exist. Works Cited Bechtel, William. & Graham, George. A Companion to Cognitive Science. Wiley- Blackwell, 1999. Conscious Entities. "Bats." Conscious Entities. 2004. Accessed on

  • Animals Think Thomas Nagel Poses

    Yet, the studies on animal consciousness show that they are conscious, and they are capable of thought, and so, whatever they feel, they are feeling something and reacting to that feeling. Their brains are involved, and brains involve thought, in addition to mere stimulus. As author Saigel says about petting his cat, "Certainly, it seems that my rubbing my cat's head has no advantage to it other than the

  • Moral Luck by Admitting Defeat He Informs

    Moral Luck" by admitting defeat: he informs the reader that he will be assessing "a fundamental problem about moral responsibility to which we possess no satisfactory solution" (450). The problem is essentially one about ethical judgment, and he begins it with an illustration from Kant. Kant's view of the ethical will, in the quotation offered by Nagel at the outset, is one in which goodness is not determined by

  • Physicalism Is Very Interesting and Brings Up

    Physicalism is very interesting and brings up many worthy points of discussion even though its precepts appear as limiting the interpretations of human experience. Ontological investigation cannot be taken too seriously as ideas of being and existence seem much too complex to be expressed in words, although I will attempt to do such a task in relating my understanding of the philosophy of physicalism and how it relates to ontological

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved