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7/18/2015 10:17 am  #11


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

iwpoe - It isn't clear masturbation is a subversion of the reproductive faculty. What does 'subversion' here mean?

 

7/23/2015 9:07 am  #12


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

musiclover wrote:

iwpoe - It isn't clear masturbation is a subversion of the reproductive faculty. What does 'subversion' here mean?

It means using that faculty in a way that makes it weaker and less effective in achieving its end of reproduction. In the case of masturbation it's surely "clear" that that end is completely thwarted.

I'm frankly having a hard time believing you didn't really understand that already.

 

7/23/2015 9:28 am  #13


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

musiclover wrote:

But what does it mean to 'positively frustrate' its natural end? After all, in a sense, using your leg as support for a table also positively frustrates your leg's natural end, in that while you are using it that way, you cannot also use it for locomotion. Other examples could be given: closing your eyes, holding your breath, walking with your hands, etc.

iwpoe has replied to this already, but I'll add the following:

As I've already said twice, the relevant issue is frustrating the natural end, not of an organ like a leg or an eye, but of a faculty. None of your proposed counterexamples involve the frustration of the faculty of locomotion, vision, and so forth. When you support a table with your leg, for example, you aren't walking at all, and as iwpoe has said, when you close your eyes, you're still seeing. A frustration or subversion of the faculty of locomotion would be some way of objectively trying to walk that nevertheless deliberately prevented you from walking effectively.

By the way, I'm not a moderator here, but I strongly oppose "bumping" a thread just because a post hasn't been answered soon enough to suit the poster. Even with a smiley emoticon, it's rude.

Last edited by Scott (7/23/2015 9:45 am)

 

7/23/2015 11:04 am  #14


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

Scott - To be clear, I'm actually sympathetic to natural law theory. I ask these questions not in the spirit of trollish criticism, but out of the desire to learn more about the theory. If I sound like I don't understand what I'm talking about, then please help me understand http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


And I sincerely apologize if you found the bumping rude - it's the first time I've encountered that reaction to bumping in all the years I've participated in threads. 

You say 'subversion' means 'using that faculty in a way that makes it weaker and less effective in achieving its end'. This seems strange - exercise can make a muscle temporarily weaker, and using your leg as a table leg makes it less effective, but we agree it isn't wrong to do those things.

You also give a second construal of subversion: '
A frustration or subversion of the faculty of locomotion would be some way of objectively trying to walk that nevertheless deliberately prevented you from walking effectively.' This seems more plausible, will think about it. Thanks!

Btw, I'm still not sure why we can't talk about the frustration of the natural end of organs. Feser speaks of organs too, after all. For example, he writes: '
Natural law theory does not condemn using a natural capacity or organ other than for its natural function, but only using it in a manner contrary to its natural function, frustrating its natural end.'

Last edited by musiclover (7/23/2015 11:05 am)

     Thread Starter
 

7/23/2015 6:56 pm  #15


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

musiclover wrote:

And I sincerely apologize if you found the bumping rude - it's the first time I've encountered that reaction to bumping in all the years I've participated in threads.

Fair enough, and no problem. Just to be clear, it isn't the bumping per se that I found problematic but the apparent impatience that I didn't reply to your question quickly enough.

Like others here, I don't spend all my time on-list; in this instance, as I mentioned somewhere in another thread, in addition to my usual activities/duties, I had a house guest for several days and then a routine colonoscopy that put me out of commission for most of a day. Moreover, while I'm generally happy to answer a question, doing so in a satisfactory manner typically takes a lot longer than asking one does.

musiclover wrote:

Btw, I'm still not sure why we can't talk about the frustration of the natural end of organs. Feser speaks of organs too, after all. For example, he writes: 'Natural law theory does not condemn using a natural capacity or organ other than for its natural function, but only using it in a manner contrary to its natural function, frustrating its natural end.'

It's not that we can't talk at all about the frustration of the natural ends of organs; it's that such frustration matters only insofar as it's also, and more fundamentally, the frustration of a faculty. There's nothing immoral per se about frustrating the function of an "organ" considered in and of itself, any more than there's anything immoral about keeping water from "naturally" flowing downhill. But strictly speaking, an organ can't be "considered in and of itself," since it's an "organ" to begin with only because it's a virtual part of an organism and its "natural" function is to participate in the exercise of that organism's faculties.

Last edited by Scott (7/23/2015 9:24 pm)

 

7/23/2015 7:05 pm  #16


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

musiclover wrote:

iwpoe - It isn't clear masturbation is a subversion of the reproductive faculty. What does 'subversion' here mean?

I mean, unless I missed something, masturbation is straightforwardly a use of the reproductive faculty such that it can't even in principle bring about its end. There are problematic cases due to vocabulary: many cases of "mutual masturbation" probably shouldn't be lumped in with masturbation in the same way, though they bear a superficial resemblance.

Last edited by iwpoe (7/23/2015 7:10 pm)


Fighting to the death "the noonday demon" of Acedia.
My Books
It is precisely “values” that are the powerless and threadbare mask of the objectification of beings, an objectification that has become flat and devoid of background. No one dies for mere values.
~Martin Heidegger
 

7/24/2015 9:22 am  #17


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

iwpoe wrote:

I mean, unless I missed something, masturbation is straightforwardly a use of the reproductive faculty such that it can't even in principle bring about its end.

Yes. And for the benefit of musiclover let me bring out something that's implicit here and ever so slightly explicit in one of my earlier posts.

Objectively, it is the "reproductive faculty" that is being used in (male) masturbation, and it can't very well be otherwise if the outcome is ejaculation. That's what sets this case apart from the case in which one's leg is being used to prop up a table: in the latter case, we're not objectively using our faculty of locomotion, we're just using an organ for another purpose than the one we most often associate with it. (Many of our organs are multi-purpose.)

Subjectively, however, our intent in masturbation is to use the reproductive faculty in a way that deliberately prevents it from resulting in reproduction.

There are two morally relevant components to our action: what I've described as the "objective" component, and our "subjective" intention. Generally, if these are at odds, the action in question doesn't tend toward our own genuine good. (Steven Jensen is excellent on this subject, by the way.)

Last edited by Scott (7/24/2015 4:07 pm)

 

7/25/2015 7:30 am  #18


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

Is female masturbation also such a case? Physically, orgasm is clearly not necessary for reproducion in women.


Fighting to the death "the noonday demon" of Acedia.
My Books
It is precisely “values” that are the powerless and threadbare mask of the objectification of beings, an objectification that has become flat and devoid of background. No one dies for mere values.
~Martin Heidegger
 

7/25/2015 9:25 am  #19


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

iwpoe wrote:

Is female masturbation also such a case? Physically, orgasm is clearly not necessary for reproducion in women.

I've been giving that some thought lately and the short answer is that I don't know. I'm fairly sure the natural-law/perverted-faculty argument would be that the female orgasm has its proper place in the overarching faculty of reproduction/procreation* even though it isn't strictly necessary for conception. I think that's probably right, but plainly it's not as simple as Oh, no, some sperm misfired. (And I have seen sexual advice for Catholic married couples to the effect that it's fine for the man to masturbate the woman to orgasm before coitus as long as coitus actually follows. Female orgasm, unlike male, doesn't take the player out of the game temporarily, so to speak.)

Unfortunately I don't see this distinction being made very often. In discussions of homosexual behavior, same-sex marriage, and natural law, there's usually a penis involved even though the arguments are supposed to apply to both sexes. I think that's an oversight and relations between women deserve separate treatment.

For whatever it's worth, my impression/memory is that religious traditions in the West have tended to be much milder on lesbianism than on male-male sodomy.

----

* And here's yet another example of why it's important to recognize that we are dealing with faculties rather than just "organs" considered in and of themselves. The human reproductive faculty extends far beyond the act of coitus itself to include even the overall process of childrearing; its final cause is not merely conception or even childbirth but the generation of mature adults. The female orgasm is obviously part of this broad faculty even if we (mistakenly, I would say) regard it as having only a "unitive" function.

Last edited by Scott (7/25/2015 11:07 am)

 

7/25/2015 4:29 pm  #20


Re: What is it to "Oppose" an Organ's Natural Function?

It doesn't seem to me that solo masturbation can't have a unitive function, since that would presuppose that fantasy cannot bond you to the fantasized in their physical absence.

Here's a question: are male nocturnal emissions themselves violation of the natural law? It's not clear to me that intent is required for a violation. If so, why would an organ of itself in its own normal function violate the law?

Last edited by iwpoe (7/25/2015 4:32 pm)


Fighting to the death "the noonday demon" of Acedia.
My Books
It is precisely “values” that are the powerless and threadbare mask of the objectification of beings, an objectification that has become flat and devoid of background. No one dies for mere values.
~Martin Heidegger
 

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