Why Monogamy is Morally Permissible: A Defense of Some Common Justifications for Monogamy

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


Harry Chalmers argues that monogamy involves restricting one’s partner’s access to goods in a morally troubling way that is analogous to an agreement between partners to have no additional friends. Chalmers finds the traditional defenses of monogamy wanting, since they would also justify a friendship-restricting agreement. I show why three traditional defenses of monogamy hold up quite well and why they don’t, for the most part, also justify friendship-restricting agreements (and why it doesn’t seem to matter when they do). In many cases, monogamy can be justified on grounds of practicality, specialness, or jealousy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Value Inquiry
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2019


Bibliographical note

Thanks for Francesco Orsi, Derek Baker, Merily Salura, and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments, notes, and conversations.

Funding was provided by Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme.

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