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What Sex is Not

December 26th, 2010 by Matt

Recreational ActivityChildren cannot, either by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to sexual intercourse.

Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to casual recreational activities.

Therefore, sex is not merely a casual recreational activity.

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67 responses so far ↓

  • There must be a premise missing, since there is a countermodel.

    1. S can legitimately purchase a gun, such as a revolver or automatic handgun.

    2. S cannot legitimately purchase an AK 47.

    3. Therefore AK 47 is not a gun.

    If you can purchase AK 47’s legitimately, and this is an obstacle to following the countermodel, then replace ‘gun’ with ‘weapon’ and ‘AK 47’ with ‘nuclear bomb’. Or make your own countermodel; there are lots of them. The problem with the argument is that children can consent to recreational activities, but children cannot consent to any recreational activity. A 4 year old cannot consent to the recreational activity of bungee jumping, for instance, or solo sky diving, even by proxy.

  • Mike, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that sex with someone under 16 is wrong just like incest even with consenting adults is wrong. This the latest thing that the lunatic fringe of the librarian movement would like to see legalised.

  • Mike if 2 is true then 1 is false in the sense that you cannot purchase just any type of automatic weapon, 2 shows us that there are other types of automatic weapons that possess features over and above the fact of being an automatic weapon which have caught the eye of the legislature/society. An AK 47 is not just a hand gun.

  • Re the original post – I’d agree, and add to this. If sex was just a casual recreational activity – then rape and sexual abuse wouldn’t be so devastating for the victims, as such crimes would amount to little more than assault, or perhaps a form of theft.

    In reality, most people would agree that rape and sexual abuse are much more upsetting than the accompanying violence alone. For some reason, sexual assault affects a victim in a way that assault alone does not; eg, a rape or molestation victim often feels shame and guilt in relation to the incident, whereas it is very unusual to hear of anyone feeling that way about being beaten up for their wallet.

  • Taking a liberal sacred cow and bashing it with paedophilia is sure fire way to stir the pot 😉

    How we treat an action in one sphere tells us a lot about how we should view that action in all spheres.

    We show in how we treat sex when it comes to children, that sex is not all about consent and safety.

    By reasoning from how we treat sex when it comes to children we see what options cannot consistently be held when it comes to sex with adults: prostitution, one night stands, et cetera.

  • Blondie
    That’s a really interesting point, which I have wondered about a bit myself. I think you are on to something with this example.

    For example if I spat in a persons ear, or put my finger in someones mouth without conest that would be considered a fairly minor assault. However, sticking ones finger into a persons sexual organs without consent or exchanging sexual fluids is quite rightly considered a serious offence. In fact rape is a far more serious offence than punching someone in the face and breaking their jaw. And we certainly view rape as a lot more serious than forcing a person to play a rugby match without their consent. This I think suggests we view sex as having a significance over and above, a pleasurable fluid exchange or a recreational activity, that can’t be captured entirely in terms of harm or consent.

  • Mike, that’s an interesting response. However in 1 you state S can legitimately purchase a gun, such as a revolver or automatic handgun.. In other-words you spell what you mean by gun out in terms of revolvers and handguns. Once this is realised the argument does not appear to be invalid, an AK 47 is not a gun, in way you have explicated this term in 1. An AK 47 is a fully automatic assault rifle, its not a gun, such as a revolver or automatic handgun which is what you said people could purchase in 1.

    Madeleine hints at the real issue though. if you can legitimately purchase a revolver or automatic handgun, but not an AK 47, then, unless the legislator is being totally arbitrary, there must be an important difference between AK 47’s and handguns which makes justifies prohibiting on the former and not the latter.

    The same I think is true here, given we accept that a child can validly consent to causal recreational activities like rugby or soccer, and so forth, but can’t validly consent to sex, it follows there must be an important difference between sex and casual recreational activities which justifies treating sex and such activities radically different.

  • Chuck,

    “Mike, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that sex with someone under 16 is wrong just like incest even with consenting adults is wrong”

    I have no idea how that responds to me. I said nothing remotely inconsistent with the claim you’re affirming..

    Madeline,

    “Mike if 2 is true then 1 is false in the sense that you cannot purchase just any type of automatic weapon…”

    Right I tried to explain the problem. In the syllogism Matt offers, it is not true that that children can by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to ANY casual recreational activities. A young child cannot give valid consent to solo sky diving for instance (and no one can give that for them, they are far too young for that activity.). So, it is perfectly open to the person who affirms (1) to affirm (2) as well, since it is consistent with (2) that sex is a recreational activity. It is just a recreational activity that children cannot consent to.

    Matt,

    “However in 1 you state S can legitimately purchase a gun, such as a revolver or automatic handgun.. In other-words you spell what you mean by gun out in terms of revolvers and handguns.”

    But I didn’t have to spell that out for (1) to be true. Certainly the natural reading of (1) (the reading that makes it true),

    1. S can legitimately purchase a gun,

    is that S can legitimately purchase some gun or other. It is not that S can purchase any existing gun. Similarly, the natural reading of your (2) (the reading that makes it true),

    2. Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to casual recreational activities,

    is that children can give consent (themsleves or proxy) to some casual recrreational activities. It is not that children can consent to any existing recreational activitY: they cannot consent to sky diving or hunting large game or drinking alcohol, etc..

  • Mike wrote:

    “In the syllogism Matt offers, it is not true that that children can by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to ANY casual recreational activities. A young child cannot give valid consent to solo sky diving for instance (and no one can give that for them, they are far too young for that activity.).”

    Yes but solo sky diving is dangerous, especially so for children, joining a soccer game at lunchtime in the playground is not. What makes solo sky diving wrong for a child to consent to is some feature other than the fact sky diving is a recreational activity. We treat consent to solo sky diving differently not because it is a recreational activity but because it has features that other activities do not have.

  • Thanks for your comments Mike, I think I see your point now. As I have formulated the argument it needs some nuancing. I still think, however, the basic point I am trying to make stands; though exactly how to spell it out is interesting.

    I argued:
    [1] Children cannot, either by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to sexual intercourse.
    [2]Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to casual recreational activities.
    [3]Therefore, sex is not a casual recreational activity.

    You give some counter examples to [2], children cannot consent to sky diving or hunting large game or drinking alcohol, etc. Now with the alcohol example I think this is false. A parent could, for example, give a small glass of wine to their child and that would not be considered an invalid non-consensual action, so I am inclined to think that a child can give consent to this at least by proxy – but let’s put that to one side.

    The other examples you give involve casual recreational activities that are also “dangerous,” sky driving or hunting large game – even alcohol involves this to some extent because alcohol is a poisonous drug. The reason we think children cannot give valid consent to these activities is that because in addition to be being casual recreational activities they are also dangerous and we think that children are ill-equipped to make dangerous decisions and we do not think others, like parents, should be allowed to make proxy decisions for another, especially a child, that are dangerous. If it was just that the child was deemed incapable of consent or incapable of consent to casual recreational activities per se then we would not allow them to consent to sports and so on.

    So it seems to me that one could nuance what I am trying to say in a couple of ways. One way would be to talk about “merely casual recreational activities”, one could then say that there are certain activities which are “merely” casual and recreational – like your average sports game, going to the movies and so on – these do not have some other property over and above the recreational and casual that lead us to think a child cannot consent to them. The conclusion, therefore, would be that [3′] sex is not a merely casual recreational activity, that sex has other features over and above being a casual recreational activity which makes the decision to have sex much more serious and grave than the decision to play football, for example. This could be made to normatively work on other issues.

    A second way would be to qualify [2′] in terms of non-dangerous casual recreational activities. The conclusion then would be that [3”] sex is not a non-dangerous casual recreational activity.

    One could then get the original conclusion by adding that in many or most instances sex is not a dangerous activity like sky-diving or hunting big game – in these examples there is a danger of serious loss of life or injury but in most sexual encounters that is not really an issue. Seeing we only invalidate minor consent for dangerous casual recreational activities and sex in most cases is not dangerous, it would seem that it is not a casual sexual activity.

    The basic point is that our justified attitude towards child sex and consent suggests that sex is in a special category of actions compared to, say, watching a pleasant movie or playing a game of sport or eating a good meal and so forth. Our consent laws reflect that there is something much more significant in the decision to have sex, which means minors cannot do it and I am not convinced that many contemporary “permissive” attitudes towards sex are compatible with this.

  • I guess what conclusion you are going to come to depends on what culture you are from. If you are Catholic you will be mortified that some people perceive sex to be a casual recreational activity. If you are a young homosexual man sex will only ever be a casual recreational activity. We can see here that there is no inherent or natural way to approach what sex is. This thought experiment only goes to show that there is no natural or inherent meaning in anything. We come up with our own meaning depending on our cultural background. Hence why I am a social constructionalist/postmodern nihilist.

  • “We can see here that there is no inherent or natural way to approach what sex is. ”

    Richard, this is a rather inadequate way to reason. You are saying:

    1) Not everybody engages in sexual acts for the same reason
    2) Therefore there’s no natural way to approach what sex is.

    Maybe you could fill in he logical gaps some time so the rest of us can see how the argument works.

    Gotta run
    Glenn

  • I would actually question the second claim here. Can children really give consent to any and all recreational activities? The argument requires an affirmative answer, yet a negative answer is obviously correct, because some recreational activities are not suitable for children.

  • I do not think that Matt’s “Children can give consent … to casual recreational activities” is the same thing as Children can give consent to “any and all recreational activities.”

    Matt uses “casual” which acts as a qualifier on “recreational activities.” Further, Matt is speaking in broad, non-specific terms so that means that the normal understandings we have of general terms apply – the plain and ordinary meaning of causal recreational things children can consent to. Finally, Matt did not say “any and all” which is a term that extends a general classification to make it inclusive of every fathomable thing you can conceive of fitting into that category.

    Things like sky-diving and hunting game are not casual recreational activities generally even for adults – these activities tend to require consent forms to be filled out, licences to be obtained, training courses to be completed, etc… prior to adults engaging in them.

    Casual recreational activities, like going to the movies or playing a game of soccer after church or having a coffee with friends are different.

    People try to treat sex like playing soccer or going to the movies, something any consenting adult can just decide to do if they want to – I am not aware of anyone suggesting you need to fill out forms or complete a training course or obtain a licence to engage in it.

  • Mads, if Matt actually meant “the plain and ordinary meaning of causal recreational things children can consent to” then the argument should be re-cast like this:

    Children cannot, either by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to sexual intercourse.

    Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to the causal recreational things children can consent to.

    Therefore, sex is not merely one of the causal recreational things children can consent to.

    Of course, few will deny this, but it loses its force because the conclusion is so limited in scope.

    The only reason the argument initially seems to establish something significant is because statement 2 is read to refer to recreational activities generally. If it is made clear that it only refers to an unspecified but limited class of recreational activities, then the original conclusion is sacrificed.

  • I’m trying to come up with a few casual recreational activities that children can’t consent to in NZ society, and I’d say there are a few: Going for a pleasant drive in the country to unwind, enjoying a cigar, going for a dusk walk by the river alone, diving off a cliff into a deep lagoon (risky for adults, but still casual and allowed). All of these are either not permitted by law for children, or else they would not be allowed by those responsible for children.

    (I figured you might appreciate some reasoned disagreement for a change, given some of the stuff I’ve seen lately!)

  • You need to define what a child is.

    You need to define what sex is.

    I think you mean that sex between an adult (ie a person over 18) and a child (ie a person under 13) is morally wrong.

    How would you deal with two 13 year olds having sex ?
    How would you deal with a 15 year old having sex with a 14 year old ?
    How would you deal with a 17 year old having sex with a 15 year old ?

    It would be nice to have clear black and white boundaries and definitions but it’s a bit simplistic.

  • He was not attempting to write a statute…

  • I dont think you need to define “child” or “sex,” Paul. The law has little trouble figuring out what those things are.

    But it’s supposed to be a fairly blunt argument which makes a point, and since point 2 is the lynchpin, and since it’s so open to question, I’m not sure how well the point is made. I think the least questionable version of the argument would be:

    Children cannot, either by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to sexual intercourse.

    Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to the sorts of casual recreational activities that we regard them as mature enough for and able to avoid obvious risks associated with said activities.

    Therefore, sex is not merely a casual recreational activity of the sort that children are mature enough for and able to avoid the obvious associated risks.

    And this just doesn’t pack the punch of the opriginal conclusion.

    I’d like the shorter knock down argument to be effective. I just don’t think it is.

  • “I guess what conclusion you are going to come to depends on what culture you are from.”

    So there is no right and wrong, it depends on your culture huh?

  • “I have no idea how that responds to me. I said nothing remotely inconsistent with the claim you’re affirming..”

    Mike I know we are on the same side but I think certain things are self evident and hardly worth debating. That was before someone raise the issue of the comparative ages.

    I was referring to adult child sex not where the age gap is quite small.

  • Glenn the reasons you suggest are why I added “merely” in the conclusion. You write “The only reason the argument initially seems to establish something significant is because statement 2 is read to refer to recreational activities generally. If it is made clear that it only refers to an unspecified but limited class of recreational activities, then the original conclusion is sacrificed.” I don’t think the last sentence is correct: suppose that, in general children can consent recreational activities, suppose further that when we don’t consider consent valid it’s because of some important further property these activities have, lets call this P, and suppose that sexual encounters which are dubbed casual or recreational do not normally or typically posses P, then I think one does have a significant conclusion.

    I also am inclined to think the examples you provide suggest something like this.

    First I think children can in general consent to recreational activities. Consider a child who joins the football club, or who buys a movie ticket or a burger at McD’s in each case there appears to be legitimate consent. If the activity is a recreational activity and has no other significant features then a child can validly consent to it.

    Now take the examples you cite “Going for a pleasant drive in the country to unwind, enjoying a cigar, going for a dusk walk by the river alone, diving off a cliff into a deep lagoon (risky for adults, but still casual and allowed).” As you note in each of these cases, in addition to be a recreational activity, these activities are “risky” that is they involve a serious threat to ones life. Smoking for example is a carcinogenic, driving a car involves a level of skill the absence of which will involve someone being killed or seriously injured. Dido with diving off a cliff into a logoon and we think children while capable of consenting to recreational activities in general are not capable of consenting to activities which involve a serious threat to life.

    So the principle would be something like: A child can consent to recreational activities that are not dangerous, where danger is defined as more than the danger of say playing rugby or fencing, but in terms of a serious threat to ones life or physical integrity.

    Seeing children can’t give consent to sex it would follow that the only way sex could be a “casual recreational activity” is if its also dangerous in the relevant sense. But in most cases of “casual sex” is is implausible people who engage in one night stands, or casual flings, or who hire prostitutes for personal pleasure, and so on are not typically engaging in a serious life threatening activity. So, I think something substantive is established by this kind of argument.

  • Matt, do you and Glenn sometimes have disagreements?

  • I think the least questionable version of the argument would be:
    Glenn you write

    Children cannot, either by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to sexual intercourse.
    Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to the sorts of casual recreational activities that we regard them as mature enough for and able to avoid obvious risks associated with said activities.
    Therefore, sex is not merely a casual recreational activity of the sort that children are mature enough for and able to avoid the obvious associated risks.
    And this just doesn’t pack the punch of the opriginal conclusion.

    Not sure this is correct, take the “mature enough for and able to avoid the obvious associated risks.” Clause. Many recreational activities children can consent to (themselves or by proxy) involve risk, rugby for example carries a high risk of injury, fishing contains risks, as does surfing, as does martial arts and so on. So the fact that its has “associated” risks of some sort is not enough.
    Where I think we don’t consider child consent to be valid, is when the risk is of certain level of seriousness or significance. Where there is risk of a potential life threatening injury or something like that. But it’s not obvious that sex is not a casual recreational activity that involving no serious threat to ones life lacks no punch, because its clear to me that most forms of so called “casual sex” do not have serious threats to ones life attached. They seem to me far on par with sports games which have some associated health risks.

  • Yeah,, different culture is different activity, Asia will be diferrent with other ocean.

  • Matt, I suspect that you’re building into P something like “unsuitable for children.”

    The reality is that no activity is “merely” anything. Nothing is ever “merely” recreational, there is some other aspect to it as well. Take eating a lollipop. Sure it’s recreational, but there are nutritional aspects too. Or watching TV. Recreational, but also auditory and visual. You response seems to be getting at the idea that if something is recreational plus it has some other aspect that makes it unsuitable for children, then children can’t consent to it. This is true, but trvivially so, and I think it doe result in something like the argument that I gave as an alternative.

    You note that driving, diving and smoking carry dangers. True, they do. But scratching smoking off the list, those dangers are minimised with maturity and the ability to avoid risk – which are the two key elements built into the stronger version of the argument that I gave. They also suggest, of course, that perhaps some adults should not drive (a view that I hold).

    And as for rugby – a child actually can’t sign up for a rugby team without parental consent, as far as I am aware. Ditto for martial arts. So I’m not sure how useful these are as counterexamples.

    So I do think that your second sentence is open to question (and I doubt that it’s true), and that my version of the argument is the strongest (albeit with a less interesting conclusion).

  • Nevermind.

    I’ll just opt to interpret “casual” as a very highly restrictive filter (eliminating everything that might not be child friendly) and agree.

  • Glenn wrote
    “I dont think you need to define “child” or “sex,” Paul. The law has little trouble figuring out what those things are.”

    Erm, actually, yes you do. A child is legally defined as a human that is not an adult. That includes humans in the 16-18 age range who are able to consent to and engage in sexual activity.

    That was my point.

    If you are going to leave the term unclarified then the premise is nonsensical because there are children who are perfectly capable of consenting to and engaging in sexual activity.

    Simples.

  • Paul, Glenn is quite correct, the existence of dawn does not mean you can’t distinguish between night and day and nor does it prevent you making accurate statements about what occurs at lunchtime.

  • Paul, Glenn and we disagree over a few things: infant baptism for one, whether tea is just a drink or a meal, whether British comedy is funny or not and whether it matters or not that a chip packet has been opened from the bottom.

  • Heresy !!!

    British comedy is funny!!!

    My Blackberry Is Not Working! – The One Ronnie, Preview – BBC One
    http://www.youtube.com

    Chip packets should never be opened from the bottom, all the flavour falls out!!

  • Matt – the analogy is a bit silly and the inference impractical.

    There are cases where children of 10-11 are having sex – how would your binary world deal with that ?
    There are cases of chilren of 15 having sex with children of 17 – how would your binary world deal with that ?

    These are real issues that the simplistic premise does not even try to address.

  • How’s this?

    1. Children are denied participation in sexual intercourse, to protect the child
    2. Something that a child needs to be protected from, must carry with it a potential danger
    3. Therefore Sex is dangerous

  • Surely all you have shown is that with respect to children sex is not a casual recreational activity? But we already knew that.

    To get your conclusion you are in making the huge assumption that things that apply to children can be extrapolated to the rest of the population. How do you justify this huge assumption? Well you don’t! You assume it!

  • yet another example of very sloppy logic. Please Matt – go do a few logic papers!

  • how’s this for the missing assumption: If we prohibit something from a child, that’s an indication that it needs to be treated seriously by the rest of us.

  • “how’s this for the missing assumption: If we prohibit something from a child, that’s an indication that it needs to be treated seriously by the rest of us.”

    Well – no it isn’t for a start…. that is the very conclusion Matt is trying to establish but fails.

    But basically he starts with premises of the form:

    For all x, if x is a child then…..

    And then ends up with a conclusion:

    For all x, if x is a human then….

    I know these are not the terms he uses but that is the trick he is trying on.

    Now if he formulated the argument with universal and existential quantifiers it would quickly become clear how invalid it is.

  • “There are cases where children of 10-11 are having sex – how would your binary world deal with that ?”

    Paul, are you implying that a court couldn’t handle that? If they could, but it would be tricky, then why is there a problem for Matt?

  • Max, if “casual” means “child friendly” (as it turns out to, as per the discussion above), then the argument is logically valid and sound. Not sloppy. Of course if casual means “child friendly” then the argument is also trivial, but it’s still valid and sound.

    So maybe somebody else should take a few papers in logic.

  • “Max, if “casual” means “child friendly” (as it turns out to, as per the discussion above)”

    Well it is NYE so I can excuse you for having had a few drinks Glen! But even so defining “casual” as “child friendly” is a stretch and a break down in reasoning even for you! May I add: WTF???

    What you are saying is both insane and irrelevant to what I have said. But I must agree with one thing you said:

    “So maybe somebody else should take a few papers in logic.”

    Logic not big in the Bible college I am guessing?

  • Max, what are you on about? I didn’t accept the argument either, until, as per the discussion above, it became clear that casual basically meant suitable for children.

    Given this, the argument is logically valid and sound. It resolves your prior concern. It also makes you look a bit daft by now turning on me and implying that I’ve made some sort of logical mistake. Feel free to point it out, but the best thing to do is take a breath, read over what I’ve said, and then realise that you agree.

    Really, I don’t know why you’re being so reactionary but it’s clouding your judgement.

  • Happy New Year, Glenno!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Glenn wrote:

    “Paul, are you implying that a court couldn’t handle that? If they could, but it would be tricky, then why is there a problem for Matt?”

    That’s the point, it is tricky. What do you think the court should do ?
    Prosecute both the boy and the girl ?
    Prosecute the parents ?
    Take the boy and the girl into Care ?
    Take the baby into Care ?
    On what grounds ?

    http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2010/11/03/ten-year-old-girl-gives-birth-to-a-6lb-6oz-baby/

    That’s just one example.

  • “it became clear that casual basically meant suitable for children”

    Well this is a bizarre conclusion – and I must admit I did not bother to read through all the discusiion. But if you want to humptydumpty style just give words random definitions then I guess every argument can be made post hoc valid and sound. However I was addressing the original argument not some drug induced revision of it.

    But even so the argument is not valid.

    Even with this weird definition we have:

    Children cannot, either by themselves or by proxy, give valid consent to sexual intercourse.

    Children can give consent, by themselves or by proxy, to recreational activities which are suitable for children.

    Therefore, sex is not merely a recreational activity suitable for children.

    Well wonderful! With your substitution we have a very disturbing conclusion indeed!

  • Max, I didn’t give the word that definition! Sheesh, are you even reading?

    And the new version of the argument you gave is valid and sound. So what is your problem now? Do you reject the conclusion because you think sex IS a mere recreational activity, suitable for children?

    You’re being very slow here….

  • Glenn – you write the argument up using formal logical notation and see what it looks like.

  • Max, don’t be lazy.

    While you’re at it, look up Leibniz’s principle of the indiscernability of identicals. Basically: If A is identical to B, then everything that is true of A will also be true of B. That’s the principle Matt is invoking here, like so:

    1) A lacks the property of “can be consented to by children.”
    2) B has the property of “can be consented to by children.”
    3) Therefore A is not B.

    A = sex
    B = child friendly (casual) recreational activity

    It’s not complicated.

    Max, why you’re even pursuing an argument where you are so obviously wrong is beyond me.

  • OK Glenn. I can’t be bothered anymore. Yeah I am being lazy. This sort of nonsense is not worth the effort

  • I’m a bit rusty on how conditional proofs function in predicate calculus but how is this Max?

    Casual recreational activity=recreational activity, which does not pose a serious threat of harm to oneself.

    Let C=casual recreational activity

    Let V=capable of being validly consented to by a child

    Let S=Sexual activity

    1.(x)[Cx > Vx] premise
    2.(x)[Sx> -Vx] premise
    3. Cy>Vy UI 1
    4. Sy>-Vy UI 2
    5. Sy conditional premise
    6. –Vy MP 4,5
    7. –Cy MT 3,6
    8. Sy>-Cy CP 5-8
    9. (x)[Sx>-Cx] UG 8

  • Do you wanna provide a translate for the rest of us who do not speak Geek?

  • Max, from memory, 9 is legitimate using the Universal Generalisation rule (UG).

    In 3 and 4 I used the Universal Instantiation rule to get an individual instance “y”; “y” stands for any randomly selected individual. Given the universal quantifiers in 1 and 2, this is a legitimate move. If all individuals have a feature then any randomly selected individual does. Instantiating to y, however, means one can later use the rule of UG in 9.

  • The problem I suppose is in accepting:

    1.(x)[Cx > Vx] premise

    Which is what most of the discussion generated above was about.
    As noted accepting this makes the meaning of “casual” one which is so far from its normal usage that the argument is very misleading.

    I would only be willing to accepy”

    1. (Ex)[Cx > Vx]

    A point which Mike brings up quite early in the discussion. If this is the case then your argument will not work.

    Having to accept the as Glenn says “casual basically meant suitable for children” makes the whole enterprise rather pointless – because you will have more trouble getting people to accept this claim than just getting them to agree with the conclusion… there is some technical term for this situation which alludes me right now.

  • “Max, from memory, 9 is legitimate using the Universal Generalisation rule (UG).”

    Yes… I agree 🙂 Hence Valid… yes… Sound… I say not unless you are humptydumpty.

  • However I think we have demonstrated the importance of symbolizing the argument as it quickly demonstrates where the error is creeping in. It means that the ambiguity around premise 1. which the discussion above centered on is seen as the main issue.

  • Max agreed, the first premise is the real issue. I am inclined to think that when we contend that there are certain recreational activities that children cannot validly consent to, this is because those activities have other properties which cases of “casual sex” typically do not have. But your correct that this is the real issue.

  • Actually Matt there is an even more wonderful problem with your argument!

    Even if I accept (which I don’t):

    1.(x)[Cx > Vx] premise
    2.(x)[Sx> -Vx] premise

    You are left with the fact that we can still have:

    (Ex)[~Cx.Vx] is not actually precluded.

    Not really relevant but interesting

  • Max, you write

    “Even if I accept (which I don’t):

    1.(x)[Cx > Vx] premise
    2.(x)[Sx> -Vx] premise”

    So you reject 2: the premise that contends children cannot validly consent to sex?

    “You are left with the fact that we can still have:

    (Ex)[~Cx.Vx] is not actually precluded.”

    the claim that there are some things children can validly consent to which are not casual recreational activities.

    Am I missing something? I would have though 2 was pretty uncontroversial, and this last claim seems to me fairly innocuous.

  • “So you reject 2: the premise that contends children cannot validly consent to sex?”

    Don’t do that Matt. It is below you to imply that I was saying that. OBVIOUSLY is you have (A & B) and I have already said above that I reject A, I do not also have to reject B to reject the conjunction do I? Should I assume you lack logical skill or that you lack the decency not to make cruel and unnecessary insinuations?

    “You are left with the fact that we can still have:

    (Ex)[~Cx.Vx] is not actually precluded.”

    “Am I missing something?”

    Yes you are. You are confusing

    (x)[Cx > Vx] premise for (x)[Vx > Cx] premise

    If you had the second it would preclude:

    (Ex)[~Cx.Vx] but you don’t. I suggest you draw a Ven diagram to clarify the situation for yourself.

  • Max, sorry I wasn’t trying to insinuate anything hence the question marks and phrase “am I missing something”. Of course I accept that one can deny a conjunction with out denying both conjuncts and this actually occurred to me . Its also true that in common conversational language when people say, I reject a and b, they mean to reject both. I was trying to ascertain exactly what you were saying. I did not for a moment think you believed a child could consent to sex, I was more wondering if you had misunderstood something.

    ”(x)[Cx > Vx] premise for (x)[Vx > Cx] premise
    If you had the second it would preclude:
    (Ex)[~Cx.Vx] but you don’t. I suggest you draw a Ven diagram to clarify the situation for yourself. “

    Sure I get that (x)[Cx>Vx] is different to (x)[Vx > Cx] and I affirmed the former not the latter. That was not my question what I don’t see is why failure to preclude (Ex)[~Cx.Vx] is a problem. All it says is that there are some activities which are not casual recreation activities which children can validly consent to. I am not sure why failing to preclude this is a problem.

  • I think Max is being overly touchy today… sorry

    I will answer the other question when I am not so tired.. There is something important there. Well not important really… we all know sex is not a casual thing… but interesting maybe

  • Children cannot….to sexual intercourse.

    Children can …to casual recreational activities.

    Therefore, sex is not merely a casual recreational activity, *for children*.

  • On the Seriousness of Sex…

    consider the following argument from Matthew Flanagan … This is an interesting argument, because it brings out the seriousness and significance of sex (see the comments at MandM if you’re interested in some critical discussion of the argument; the argument needs a bit of work but it makes the point that it…

  • Taking Sex Seriously…

    There are reasons for thinking that sex is not mere recreation … consider the following argument from Matthew Flanagan:…

  • I hate calculus, it does my head in. Give me Binary any day.

    If you sneak out on your wife and have sex with another woman she will probably leave you.

    On the other hand if you sneak out on your wife to go fishing with the boys she won’t leave you but you will be in the dog box for a while.

    We can calculate the length and depth of your suffering for going fishing by a pretty simple calculation

    suffering = (Wifes wrath) / (number of fish caught that she likes to eat) / (amount of groveling) / ((amount of her house work you take on ) X (Time spent doing house work))

    Of course that is Dependant on whether you left a note – if you didnt expect suffering to alter by a factor of 10, although if you left a note but in an obscure place suffering factor may (or may not) be reduced to a factor of 9.

    Therefore we can conclude that although sneaking out to go fishing may restrict your sex life for a while your wife won’t leave you for it and can therefore term it recreational.

    On the other hand sneaking out on your wife to sleep with other woman will more than likely result in the termination of your marriage we can therefore term it not recreational but extremely harmful to you, your wife, your children, grandchildren, friends and surrounding family. Believe me I’ve seen the impact of this behavior. Sex is not recreational it is to be shared lovingly between husband and wife only.

  • It is culturally decided how old a person should be in order to be able to give consent to sexual intercourse and then that is put into law. A child CAN give consent to sexual intercourse but it is prohibited by law. Certainly for good reason but I don’t think a logical argument can be made based on law. Alcohol was deemed illegal in the United States in 1919 but then legal again in 1933. With your logic you could make the argument between those years that alcohol is dangerous and then outside of them that it is not.