Permissibility of Adultery

Essay by fatman1957College, UndergraduateB+, December 2014

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Final Essay Prompt: Permissibility of Adultery

Adultery is the voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. This is not often researched in philosophy, but can be viewed in many different ways of moral or religious understanding. Often this act is seen to be as deviant or wrong by the majority of today's society, especially in the United States. Though, some exceptions can be made for those who carry beliefs that their spouse is entitled to such an action, or even in certain situations where it could be seen as permissible in our own society. Some of these situations can be explained by philosopher Don Marquis, who is a defender of why adultery can be seen as acceptable in certain occasions. As he suggests, we may feel the right to protect our own personal feelings in these situations, but must know that adultery is never an action that serves the greater good.

In Don Marquis' piece, "What's Wong with Adultery?" he talks both about why adultery is a deviant act as well as situations for when it is permissible. In the cases for which he proposes that adultery is permitted, he focuses on the sense of a marriage as a conditional contract. Like all other contracts, when this one is broken Marquis suggests in a sense that all bets are off, and the crime committed upon oneself calls for rightful retaliation. He first proposes this stance in a situation where your spouse initially commits adultery. "Since your commitment not to commit adultery was conditional, adultery is not wrong when ones spouse is committing adultery" (Marquis 212). It is difficult to remain faithful to a husband or wife when they are not faithful themselves, and this is most definitely...