CFP: Is There Still a Secular Virtue of Chastity?

Submission deadline: December 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
March 29, 2019 - March 30, 2019

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy and Religion, Christopher Newport University
Newport News, United States

Topic areas


Is There Still a Secular Virtue of Chastity?

“The long and helpless infancy of man requires the combination of parents for the subsistence of their young; and that combination requires the virtue of chastity or fidelity to the marriage bed. Without such a utility, it will readily be owned, that such a virtue would never have been thought of.”-David Hume 

“Rarely use venery but for health or offspring”-Benjamin Franklin

The virtue of chastity has traditionally been portrayed as an excellent personal disposition towards the ideal ordering of sexual desire such that the agent desires that which is actually good for both the self and others affected by his or her sexual desires and actions.  From the Stoics to the Enlightenment thinkers it had been thought that chastity was a valuable virtue that was worth developing for the sake of both self and others based entirely upon secular reasons. Yet, that view is less common today. Instead, chastity is sometimes portrayed as an unnecessary ideal with few secular benefits that could not be otherwise obtained.

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Herdt (Yale University): “Chastity and the Well Lived Life”

Potential topics include:

The Argument against Chastity

Is There a Secular Virtue of Chastity?  

Which Virtue of Chastity? Choosing Between Competing Conceptions of Ideal Sexuality

Chastity and Eudaimonia: The Role of Sexual Desire in a Flourishing Life

Chastity as a Solution to Sexual Harassment in the era of #MeToo

Is Chastity Compatible with Feminism?

The Value of Chastity in Itself

The Epistemic Benefits of Chastity

Chastity and the LBGT person

Chastity and the Freedom of the Will

Humean Chastity: Unpleasant, but Useful

The Social Benefits of Chastity

Do Others Benefit from Chastity: Children, Spouses, and Society?

The Vices of Prudery / Promiscuity – How are they Harmful?

The Social Context of Chastity: Social Structures That Promote or Undermine Chastity

Chastity and Acknowledged Dependence

Is Chastity Really a Secular Virtue?

Do Contemporary Technologies Undermine the Usefulness of Chastity?

Chastity and Socio-Economic Class: Does Class Play a Role in the Importance of Chastity?

Historical or Fictional Exemplars of Chastity

Chastity and Authenticity

The Ethics of Chastity

Papers concerning all viewpoints, philosophical traditions, and issues related to chastity as a secular value are welcome. Please send abstracts of ~1000 words to by December 15, 2018. The conference will be held March 29-30, 2019 at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Conference registration will be $50. All papers will be considered for inclusion in a book proposal following the conference. The sessions for each paper will be 50 minutes. Conference papers should be 3000 words / 20 minutes reading time if you want a commentator OR up to 4000 words / 30 minutes if you don't want a commentator.

Sponsored by The Christopher Newport University Department of Philosophy and Religion and

The Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture at Washington College

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