The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation

Paperback | April 15, 2001

byEdward Stein

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In recent years scientific research and popular opinion have favored the idea that sexual orientations are determined at birth. In this book, philosopher and legal theorist Edward Stein investigates scientific research on sexual orientation and shows that it is deeply flawed. He argues thatthis research assumes a picture of sexual desire that reflects unquestioned cultural stereotypes rather than cross-cultural scientific facts, and that it suffers from serious methodological problems. He then asks whether sexual orientation is amenable to empirical study and if it is useful for ourunderstanding of human nature to categorize people based on their sexual desires. Perhaps most importantly, Stein examines some of the ethical issues surrounding such research, including gay and lesbian civil rights and the implications of parents trying to select or change the sexual orientation oftheir children.

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In recent years scientific research and popular opinion have favored the idea that sexual orientations are determined at birth. In this book, philosopher and legal theorist Edward Stein investigates scientific research on sexual orientation and shows that it is deeply flawed. He argues thatthis research assumes a picture of sexual desi...

Edward Stein is an Associate Professor of Law at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York City. He is the author of Without Good Reason: The Rationality Debate in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from M.I.T., a J.D. from Yale Law School, and he has previously taught at Yale University, New York U...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 5.79 × 8.82 × 1.18 inPublished:April 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195142446

ISBN - 13:9780195142440

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionPart I: Metaphysics1. Sex, Gender, and Sexual Orientation2. What Is a Sexual Orientation?3. Human Kinds4. Essentialism and Constructionism about Sexual OrientationPart II: Science5. The Emerging Scientific Program for the Study of Sexual Orientation6. Animal Models and Evolutionary Accounts in the Emerging Research Program7. Critique of the Emerging Research Program8. Experiential Theories of Sexual Orientation9. Sexual Orientation and ChoicePart III: Ethics10. Lesbian and Gay Rights and the Science of Sexual Orientation11. Selecting and Changing the Sexual Orientation of Children12. Should Scientific Research on Sexual Orientation Be Done?ConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Despite its well-mannered title, the book is hot stuff....Meticulously researched and argued, Stein's book challenges the precepts of ten years of increasingly accepted scientific "fact". It begins with a sympathetic look at current scientific theories of sexual orientation but quicklypinpoints where they go off-kilter."--The Advocate