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Sexual Ethics

8. Sexual Ethics and the Law

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In this module we look at sexual ethics and the law, focusing particularly on (i) where morality and the law should be involved with one another, and where they should not (ii) the history of the law’s involvement in the private sex lives of individuals and (iii) John Stuart Mill’s harm principle, and its influence on the Wolfenden Report in 1957.


In this course Dr Iain Law (University of Birmingham) takes a look at sexual ethics. In the first module, we introduce the content of traditionalist sexual ethics, before moving on to arguments in favour of, and objections to traditionalism. In the following lectures, we examine utilitarianism and situation ethics, as well as Kant and Kantian ethics. In the sixth module, we look at some of the issues arising from a liberal approach to sexual ethics, and then in the seventh module we discuss the limits of consent. Finally, we look at sexual ethics and the law, and the relationship between laws concerning sexual conduct and the sphere of morality.


Iain Law is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. His main interests are in meta-ethics, applied ethics and ethical theory, and he is currently working on papers in moral theory, moral psychology, the philosophy of medicine and applied ethics.

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APA style

Law, I. (2022, February 08). Sexual Ethics - Sexual Ethics and the Law [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Law, I. "Sexual Ethics – Sexual Ethics and the Law." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 08 Feb 2022,

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