The Philosophy of Viagra

Bioethical Responses to the Viagrification of the Modern World


The impotency remedy Viagra is the fastest selling drug in history. It has grown beyond being simply a medical phenomenon, but has achieved the status of cultural icon, appearing on television as a pretext for jokes or even as a murder weapon. Viagra has socio-cultural implications that are not limited to sexuality. The Philosophy of Viagra offers a unique perspective as it examines the phenomenon of Viagra through ideas derived from more than two thousand years of philosophical reasoning. In philosophy, Eros has always had a central position. Since Plato, philosophy has held that desire is not only a medical but also a spiritual phenomenon and that scientific explanations claiming to give an exhaustive account of erotic perception are misleading. Philosophical ideas are able to debunk various scientific rationalizations of sexuality – one of which is the clinical-sexological discourse on Viagra. In this volume, several authors interpret Viagra through the lens of classical philosophy explicating the themes of immortality and hedonism. Others offer psychoanalytical considerations by confronting clinical sexology with psychological realities. Still others evoke intercultural aspects revealing the relative character of potency that the phenomenon of Viagra attempts to gloss over.
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Review Quote

"The surprise is that Rodopi, a fine Dutch scholarly press whose books often cost more than a fistful of the little blue pills, beat the usual publishing impresarios to the agora. The Philosophy of Viagra appears not in the kind of “Philosophy and Popular Culture” series that usually offers such a volume but in Rodopi’s “Philosophy of Sex and Love” line, part of its general “Value Inquiry Book Series.” That may account for the high seriousness of many of its essays, free of the arch joking that assistant professors increasingly toss into their pop-culture excursions." – in: The Chronicle of Higher Education "…it helped me understand how humanities professors have an important place in sexuality studies and taught me never to forget there are always multiple meanings, contexts, and ways of looking at sexual topics." – Leonore Tiefer, PhD, in: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 38/2, pp. 218-219

Table of contents

Thorsten Botz-Bornstein: Introduction: Viagra, Lifestyle, and the Philosophical Perspective Sophie Bourgault: Eros, Viagra, and the Good Life: Reflections on Cephalus and Platonic Moderation Robert Vuckovich: Diogenes of Sinope Gets Hard on Viagra Thomas Kapper: A Question of Virtuous Sex: Would Aristotle Take Viagra? Kevin Guilfoy: Man’s Fallen State: St. Augustine on Viagra Robert Redeker: Viagra and the Utopia of Immortality Connie C. Price: Enhancing Desire Philosophically: Feminism, Viagra, and the Biopolitics of the Future Thorsten Botz-Bornstein: Red Pill or Blue Pill? Viagra and the Virtual Anthony Okeregbe: Virility, Viagra, and Virtue: Re-Reading Humane Vitae in an African Light Dónal O‘Mathúna: Erecting New Goals for Medicine: Viagra and Medicalization Claude-Raphaël Samama: Desire and its Mysteries: Erectile Stimulators Between Thighs and Selves Thorsten Botz-Bornstein: America and Viagra or How the White Negro Became a Little Whiter: Viagra as an Afro-Disiac Herbert Roseman: David Hume Meets Viagra: The Misuse of the Science of Erectile Dysfunction Herbert Roseman: A Short Note on Viagra and Thanatos Roman Meinhold: Comparative Melioration and Pathological Pathogenization in Viagra Marketing Bassam Romaya: Erectus Interruptus: All Erections Are Not Equal Works Cited About the Authors Index