Minimizing Marriage

Minimizing Marriage : Marriage, Morality, and the Law

3.9 (40 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.9 (40 ratings by Goodreads)

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Even in secular and civil contexts, marriage retains sacramental connotations. Yet what moral significance does it have? This book examines its morally salient features - promise, commitment, care, and contract - with surprising results. In Part One, "De-Moralizing Marriage," essays on promise and commitment argue that we cannot promise to love and so wedding vows are (mostly) failed promises, and that marriage may be a poor commitment strategy. The book contends
with the most influential philosophical accounts of the moral value of marriage to argue that marriage has no inherent moral significance. Further, the special value accorded marriage sustains amatonormative discrimination - discrimination against non-amorous or non-exclusive caring relationships such
as friendships, adult care networks, polyamorous groups, or urban tribes. The discussion raises issues of independent interest for the moral philosopher such as the possibilities and bounds of interpersonal moral obligations and the nature of commitment.
The central argument of Part Two, "Democratizing Marriage," is that liberal reasons for recognizing same-sex marriage also require recognition of groups, polyamorists, polygamists, friends, urban tribes, and adult care networks. Political liberalism requires the disestablishment of monogamous amatonormative marriage. Under the constraints of public reason, a liberal state must refrain from basing law solely on moral or religious doctrines; but only such doctrines could furnish reason for
restricting marriage to male-female couples or romantic love dyads. Restrictions on marriage should thus be minimized. But public reason can provide a strong rationale for minimal marriage: care, and social supports for care, are a matter of fundamental justice. Part Two also responds to challenges posed
by property division on divorce, polygyny, and supporting parenting, and builds on critiques of marriage drawn from feminism, queer theory, and race theory. It argues, using the example of minimal marriage, for the compatibility of liberalism and feminism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 154 x 234 x 17mm | 416g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0199774137
  • 9780199774135
  • 676,804

Table of contents

Introduction: Marriage and Philosophy ; Part One. De-Moralizing Marriage ; 1. The Marriage Promise: Is Divorce Promise-Breaking? ; 2. How to Commit Marriage: A Conceptual Guide ; 3. Marriage, Sex, and Morals ; 4. Special Treatment for Lovers: Marriage, Care, and Amatonormativity ; Part Two: Democratizing Marriage ; 5. Critiques of Marriage: An Essentially Unjust Institution? ; 6. Defining Marriage: Political Liberalism and the Same-Sex Marriage Debates ; 7. Minimizing Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law ; 8. Challenges for Minimal Marriage: Poverty, Property, Polygyny
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Review quote

This is an important book, a meticulous, thorough, and innovative work of moral and political philosophy applied to a pressing contemporary dilemma. ... It is one of the most rigorous, comprehensive, and compelling political liberal treatments of the marriage question out there if not the best. * Tamara Metz, Social Theory and Practice * provides fresh insight into a controversial topic and makes bold but thoughtful proposals that deserve consideration. * Natasha McKeever, Res Publica * Brake's clearly argued thesis is a powerful alternative to more standard feminist views that would eliminate marriage as an institution. The author makes a very important contribution to all aspects of the current marriage debates. Highly recommended * CHOICE * This a terrific book for anyone interested in "what happens next" in the field of marriage law. It is provocative, clear in its argument, well-grounded philosophically, and engages a wide range of recent books and articles on marriage. It aims at being controversial, and it succeeds. ... Brake sharpens understanding of the issues and possible paths forward in the ongoing debates about marriage and family law. * Mary L Shanley, TPM * This is an engaging, stimulating and provoking work of political and ethical philosophy that approaches its central issue from a number of angles. * Ruth Abbey, Philosophy in Review *
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About Elizabeth Brake

Elizabeth Brake was educated at The Universities of Oxford (B.A.) and St. Andrews (M. Litt., PhD). Since 2000 she has taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary, Canada; in 2011-2012 is a Visiting Associate Professor at Arizona State University. She has written on the construction of parental obligations, fathers' rights and responsibilities, and political liberalism, in addition to work on
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Rating details

3.9 out of 5 stars
- 40 ratings
5 32% (13)
4 40% (16)
3 15% (6)
2 10% (4)
1 2% (1)
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