Do you think it is ethical to have romantic desires for people with good looks?

Read another response by Alexander George, Alan Soble
Read another response about Emotion, Ethics
Do you think it is ethical to have romantic desires for people with good looks? I know the obvious (pop culture) answer is yes. One may even assert further that it is natural to do so. However, my point then is that some desires, albeit natural, are unethical. (If I don't have money on me and I am hungry, I may feel the urge to steal some food.) And even though most people may feel that it is okay, the general public may be very often wrong. My reasoning is: (1) We should evaluate people only on their choices and not on conditions they haven't achieved by making choices. (2) People don't choose to look good or bad. Conclusion: Therefore, it is unethical to grant people ANY advantage based on their looks. A friend of mine, against this argument, tells me that for instance, a mathematician has not chosen to be born with her talent, so we shouldn't also value her mathematical works. This seems like an inextricable tangle! Thanks.

The question begins: "Do you think it is ethical to have romantic desires for people with good looks?" The questioner then constructs a syllogism that concludes: "it is unethical to grant people ANY advantage based on their looks." Perhaps this particular conclusion is right, i.e., the syllogism is both valid and sound. However, that doesn't get us very far in answering the original question at the very top, for we would still have to add the premise/assumption: "my having romantic desires for a physically attractive person grants an advantage to that person." That is very doubtful! (Except for the megalomaniac.) By the way, I cover this territory in depth in my Sexual Investigations (Yale, 1996), chapter 5, "Beauty."

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