A Brief Introduction to Philosophy (Through a Certain Sex Act)

The meaning of philosophy. Many people have responded to this inquiry, and most of them are getting at the same general point. I like to say that philosophy is everything that can be explained by reason other than science.

Maybe you believe there’s no more room for questions in the scientific community. Roughly a century ago, many philosophers, most notably the Logical Positivists, held that all areas of inquiry outside of science were meaningless.

A Brief Introduction to Philosophy (Through a Certain Sex Act)

This, however, is likely to be incorrect. Which scientific discipline addresses the question of whether or not science encompasses all reasonable inquiry?

If you find this topic perplexing, it could be because you know that the question of whether or not science can answer all questions is not a scientific one. Philosophical questions revolve around the bounds of human understanding.

By contemplating what kinds of questions humans might have other scientific ones, we can have a deeper appreciation for philosophy.

While philosophical problems are just as varied and extensive as those found in the natural sciences, many of them may be categorised under the umbrella terms of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.

Concepts And Ideas in Sexual Philodophy

The philosophy of sex is a relatively recent field that emerged in the final quarter of the twentieth century.

During this time, there was a proliferation of university-level courses devoted substantially or entirely to the philosophy of sex, as well as textbooks for these courses (the first of which was the anthology Philosophy and Sex, published in 1975 and edited by Robert Baker and Frederick Elliston).

Additionally, in 1977, a professional organisation, The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, was founded.

In part, the new philosophical inquiry into sexuality arose in tandem with the second-wave feminist critique of both gender discrimination and the widespread societal and legal disrespect for the sexual preferences and lifestyles of gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and the transgendered.

However, sex theory is not and has not been part of any larger ethical, political, philosophical, or religious framework. As evidence, consider the wide range of topics included in the field’s many textbooks and encyclopaedias, such as Igor Primoratz’s Human Sexuality (1997) and Alan Soble’s encyclopaedia Sex from Plato to Paglia (2001). (2005).

The Sexual Philosophy Timeline

With Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, the Western intellectual examination of sex started (427–347 BCE). Both the Symposium and the Phaedrus, in which he discusses eros (which, in the former work, is defined as a strong yearning to acquire the excellent and beautiful), are thought-provoking, insightful, and essential reading for anybody interested in the philosophy of sex.

Aristotle (384-322 BCE), a pupil of Plato’s, says relatively little about romantic love (eros), but writes extensively about friendship love (philia) in the Nicomachean Ethics (books 8, 9) by arguing that true friends help each other become better people and seek each other’s happiness. Researchers interested in the philosophy of sex often investigate such related topics as romantic love and platonic friendship.

Jacqueline Novak: ‘My Show is not a Takedown of the Penis’

Get on Your Knees is Jacqueline Novak’s 90-minute investigation of the social, political, and personal facets of the blowjob, and she freely acknowledges that if she weren’t herself, she’d be frustrated by the show’s buzz. “I think it’s sold in the execution,” the comic says. You quickly realise that “there is absolutely no shock value,” as the saying goes.

A history of Novak’s anxious contemplation of the blowjob (recalling her debut performance, she laments the fact that she was unable to give a running commentary on her own incompetence to defuse the tension, because her mouth was “stuffed full of genitals”) is interspersed with a droll and very clever deconstruction of the language surrounding sex.

A Brief Introduction to Philosophy (Through a Certain Sex Act)

Get on Your Knees is part comedy show, half personal memoir, and part intellectual inquisition into sexual politics, delivered through the 39-year-precise, old’s dense, and poetic wording; it also features several references to TS Eliot.

Already a hit in Novak’s native New York, the show has received praise from the likes of Search Party star and alternative comic John Early and Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne, who praised Novak as having “a one-of-a-kind voice for the ages.” Novak is directed by the acclaimed comedian and actor Alan Zweibel.

I, along with everyone else you’ve met, are all pretenders. The promotional pitch pretty much writes itself because the Off-Broadway performance premiered in 2019 and soon gained celebrity fans like Lorde, Emma Stone, and Sally Field. “almost Talmudic analysis of a subject,” as Ira Glass of This American Life put it; “the Muhammad Ali of comedy,” as standup comic John Mulaney put it.

After having their US tour postponed due to the epidemic, Get on Your Knees is finally making their way to the capital of England.

Indeed, this is a first in the history of stand-up comedy. Over Zoom in her LA home office, Novak reveals that she has never visited England.

(She’s talking into a huge microphone, the one she uses to record episodes of Poog, the health podcast she co-hosts with comedian Kate Berlant.) In contrast to the New York clubs where Novak made her teeth, where your jokes risk being drowned out by “loud, clanking table service” and waiting staff who stand very next to the stage collecting orders, London does seem promising.

Novak’s success has been greatly aided by the United Kingdom, as it was there that Get on Your Knees was first performed. She was asked to create a piece for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018, and the resulting work, How Embarrassing for Her, is a precursor to the current production.

Her time on the fringe didn’t attract “a tonne of attention,” but she did read some positive reviews after having them checked by her father (“I was like: ‘How safe is it to read?'”). Even if there’s just one comment that could be taken the wrong way,…”). However, after a month of relentless shows, Novak was confident that she had something worthwhile on her hands.

However, the show’s origins may be traced even farther, to Novak’s days as a student at Georgetown. In addition to laying the groundwork for a career in comedy during her college years (she was a member of an improv troupe that also included Mulaney, the actor and writer Nick Kroll, and standup Mike Birbiglia), she also began to consciously explore the blowjob on an intellectual level during this time.

She was required to write an essay on the topic of the personal as political for a creative writing class, so she decided to tell the story from multiple perspectives, beginning with her 12-year-old self learning about the blowjob and her subsequent reactions. Nonetheless, even that wasn’t the first instance of its occurrence.

I also included a poem with my college application materials in which a reference to fellatio can be found, but it is rather hidden. To put it bluntly, I was under the impression that the blowjob represented a powerful symbol.

Novak felt “swagger,” liking the impression of herself as someone who “is not afraid to be really personal,” after reading the essay aloud to the class.

“Yeah, I went there,” they said. When she was a teenager, oral sex had been a complex source of concern for her, so this change was striking. Get on Your Knees helps you sort through your concerns by asking questions like, “Why did I feel like I had to do this?” also, “Why did I worry about messing it up?”

Her attitude toward the blowout came to represent a significant part of her adolescent identity, with the ability to determine “what type of girl I was going to be.” My goal was to find a way to do this without compromising what I felt was my inherent worth.

Within this remarkably frank reminiscence, Novak questions the patriarchal society’s influence on how we view male genitalia. The penis is often portrayed as a symbol of power and conventional masculinity, yet in reality it is quite delicate. (She claims that further on this theme would be a spoiler for the show.)

Still, Novak sardonically admits that “a certain amount is going to creep in there, just because it will,” indicating that the show is not a “takedown of the penis” or an attempt to condemn men. And it’s not meant to be some sort of naive feminist rallying cry.

She says in an extremely snarky tone, “Don’t mansplain to me!’ is something that my director John Early and I laugh about all the time.”

Given my arguments, it may seem that way at first, but I’m not attempting to cash in on that comparison because it’s already well-established. My intention is to add layers of complexity and confusion.

In reality, it appears that for Novak, the fundamental draw of the blowjob as a topic is the opportunity to confound assumptions. “to take something seemingly crude and strive to improve it” is one of her favourite phrases.