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Sex and Social Justice
ISBN 0195112105 / 9780195112108 / 0-19-511210-5
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
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"Human beings have a dignity that deserves respect from laws and social institutions. This idea has many origins in many traditions; by now it is at the core of modern liberal democratic thought and practice all over the world. The idea of human dignity is usually taken to involve an idea of equal worth: rich and poor, rural and urban, female and male, all are equally deserving of respect, just in virtue of being human, and this respect should not be abridged on account of a characteristic that is distributed by the whims of fortune."
But in the world we live in, notes classicist and law professor Martha C. Nussbaum, gender and sexual orientation are used routinely as excuses to violate human dignity. In 15 deftly written essays that are as accessible as they are erudite, she makes a convincing argument for viewing feminism and gay-rights activism as two facets of the same movement, a movement that has legitimate roots in the writings of philosophers like Kant and Mill (as well as the ancient Greeks). Whether she's discussing issues as concrete as Colorado's attempts to pass legislation that discriminated against homosexuals and the contemporary debate over female genital mutilation, or as abstract as the social construction of desire, Nussbaum writes with a thoroughness and clarity that help the reader better to imagine a society in which true equality for all people could be achieved. --Ron Hogan [via]