The ever readable Scott Alexander stimulated a post on Practical Ethics about defaults, status quo, and disagreements about sex. The quick of it: our culture sets defaults on who is reasonable or unreasonable when couples disagree, and these become particularly troubling when dealing with biomedical enhancements of love and sex. The defaults combine with status quo bias and our scepticism for biomedical interventions to cause biases that can block or push people towards certain interventions.
Since I am getting married tomorrow, it is fitting that the Institute of Art and Ideas TV has just put my lecture from Hay-on-Wye this year online: Manufacturing love.
It was a lovely opportunity to sit in a very comfy armchair and feel like a real philosopher. Of course, armchair philosophy is what it is: tomorrow I will do an empirical experiment with N=2 (with ethics approval from mother-in-law). We’ll see how it works out.
While I suspect my theoretical understanding is limited and the biomedical tools I have written about are not available, there is actually some nice empirical research on what makes good wedding vows. My husband and me also went for a cheap, simple wedding for just the closest friends and family, which seems to be a good sign (the rest of my friends come to an informal party the day after). And it is probably a good sign that we got together in a slow and gradual way: we have very compatible personalities.
A fun project.