Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

Rights Information

© 2013 Kyle C. Hansen


Homosexuality is an important and controversial topic in political, philosophical, ethical and religious spheres. We are exposed to the debate of homosexuality in the media on a regular basis and issues related to homosexuality have been taken up by the Supreme Court, politicians and religious institutions. Needless to say, the debate surrounding homosexuality has captured the attention of almost everyone in society to some degree. It is my goal in this thesis to give a candid overview and analysis of the arguments surrounding homosexual sexual conduct. First, I will present an argument by John Corvino, who posits that homosexual conduct can realize the same concrete goods of love, happiness, and pleasure, among others, that heterosexual conduct can realize. Namely, if homosexual conduct can produce these goods, then there is no reason on the face of things to treat homosexual conduct as morally inferior to heterosexual conduct. I will then consider an objection by Michael Levin who asserts that even if this is true, there is a prudential reason to discourage homosexual conduct because it leads to unhappiness. This fact counts prudentially against homosexual conduct and undermines Corvino’s argument. I will then examine an argument by Alan Goldman, who presents a definition of sex which he believes best matches our common intuitions and judgments in regards to what sexual activity is and isn’t. Goldman argues against definitions of sexual activity which posit that the purpose of sexual activity is to fulfill some external goal or purpose to sex itself, such as reproduction or love. Rather, Goldman outlines that sex is essentially a physical desire for contact with another’s body. If Goldman’s definition is correct, then his definition entails that homosexual conduct is not immoral. Afterwards, I will give my own thoughts as to what moral conclusions we should draw about homosexual conduct based on the above arguments.