Professor Helga Varden's recent book, Sex, Love & Gender: A Kantian Theory (Oxford University Press 2020), was released today in paperback form. The book rethinks Kant's views on human nature by making space for sex, love, and gender within his accounts of moral freedom. It is the first book to provide a comprehensive philosophical theory that brings together the many strands of Kant's practical philosophy (found across his works on ethics, justice, anthropology, history, and religion) to develop a Kantian account of how to be a sexual, loving, gendered being in moral and emotionally healthy ways.
Though Kant is well known for his austerity — and despite his anti-sex, cisist, sexist, and heterosexist reputations — Varden interprets Kant's collected writings on happiness, virtue, and the right as providing fertile and often surprising philosophical ground to explore contemporary issues related to sex, love, and gender. She applies the resulting understandings to address important debates on abortion, sexual orientation, sexual or gendered identity, marriage, trade in sexual services, and sex- or gender-based oppression. In this important and timely book, she shows how Kant's philosophy can provide unexpected resources to understand, appreciate, and value the diversity of human ways of loving and the existential importance of being an embodied, social self.
From the Reviews