Liberalism and Prostitution

Liberalism and Prostitution

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Civil libertarians characterize prostitution as a "victimless crime," and argue that it ought to be legalized. Feminist critics counter that prostitution is not victimless, since it harms the people who do it. Civil libertarians respond that most women freely choose to do this work, and that it is paternalistic for the government to limit a person's liberty for her own good. In this book Peter de Marneffe argues that although most prostitution is voluntary,
paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are nonetheless morally justifiable. If prostitution is commonly harmful in the way that feminist critics maintain, then this argument for prostitution laws is not objectionably moralistic and some prostitution laws violate no one's rights. Paternalistic
prostitution laws in some form are therefore consistent with the fundamental principles of contemporary liberalism.

"Philosophically distinctive and empirically well-supported. It deserves to be taken very seriously in any subsequent discussion of prostitution." -Analysis

"On the whole, de Marneffe has written a thorough and sharp book challenging some tenets of liberalism and their application to prostitution laws. De Marneffe's book carefully explores the intersection of liberalism, paternalism, and prostitution laws and is important for anyone interested in this area of criminal law theory." - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Product details

  • Paperback | 204 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 11mm | 308g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0199925941
  • 9780199925940
  • 1,247,754

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. A Paternalistic Case for Prostitution Laws ; 2. Government Moralism ; 3. The Permissibility of Paternalism ; 4. Individual Rights ; 5. Government Neutrality and Perfectionism ; Conclusion ; Index
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Review quote

an intriguing and somewhat controversial book * Rachela Colosi, Times Higher Education Supplement *
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About Peter De Marneffe

Peter deMarneffe is Professor of Philosophy, Head of Faculty of Philosophy, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University.
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