Why Monogamy is Morally Permissible: A Defense of Some Common Justifications for Monogamy

Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (4):539-552 (2020)
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Harry Chalmers argues that monogamy involves restricting one’s partner’s access to goods in a morally troubling way that is analogous to an agreement between partners to have no additional friends. Chalmers finds the traditional defenses of monogamy wanting, since they would also justify a friendship-restricting agreement. I show why three traditional defenses of monogamy hold up quite well and why they don’t, for the most part, also justify friendship-restricting agreements. In many cases, monogamy can be justified on grounds of practicality, specialness, or jealousy.

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Kyle York
University of Colorado, Boulder


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