Thorsten Botz-Bornstein

The Website Against Philosophical Provincialism

You are redirected to the new website of Thorsten Botz-Bornstein ...other head section stuff (Title, Description,etc.)...

The Philosophy of Viagra: Bioethical Responses to the Viagrification of the Modern World

Editor: Thorsten Botz-Bornstein.

Published by Rodopi in the "Philosophy of Sex and Love" series. ISBN: 978-90-420-3336-8; 978-94-012-0036-3; Paper €46,-/US$64


Praise for The Philosophy of Viagra:

"... the high seriousness of many of its essays, free of the arch joking that assistant professors increasingly toss into their pop-culture excursions." The Chronicle of Higher Education. Read Review

" helped me understand how humanities professors have an important place in sexuality studies and taught me never to forget there are always multiple meanings, contexts, and ways of looking at sexual topics." Leonore Tiefer, Clinical Psychologist and Activist. Read review

This went into Wikiquotes: "Viagra appears as the drug of a capitalist society convinced that any efficient medication approved by the state signifies progress and higher levels of happiness"



The impotency remedy Viagra is the fastest selling drug in history. It is no longer just a medical phenomenon, but also a cultural icon, appearing in television sitcoms as a pretext for jokes or as a murder weapon. Viagra has socio-cultural implications not limited to sexuality, but concerns various parts of our cultural landscape. Being relatively convincing in terms of bio-medical efficiency, criticism of Viagra has so far mainly been expressed in the (often feminist) "Liberal Arts" camp where Pfizer (the maker of Viagra) is reproached for its profit-oriented negation of any psychological, social, emotional, and relational components involved in impotency. Further criticism ridicules Viagra's mechanical imagery of a "techno-fix" not only intensifying the medicalization of impotency current since the early 1980s, but also making "sex into a medical function like digestion" (Tiefer 2003) and the fact that Viagra renders masculinity as a mere problem of chemical engineering, plumbing, and hydraulics.

In spite of, or because of, the narrow humanistic basis offered  by its producers, Viagra has obtained the status of a lifestyle drug. The authors of the present volume examine Viagra through ideas derived from more than two thousand years of philosophical reasoning. Does philosophy not know since Plato that scientific explanations, which claim to give an exhaustive account of erotic perception, are misleading? The philosopher James Waddell has urged us to find "ways of thinking about sexuality that go beyond chemical, biological, and mechanical explanations. We need tools that are forged in the heat of erotic passion as it is lived to help us spot nonsense and to make sense of our own experience."

Philosophical ideas are able to debunk various scientific rationalizations of sexuality – one of which is the clinical-sexological discourse on Viagra. Some authors interpret Viagra through the lens of classical philosophy explicating the themes of immortality and hedonism. Others offer psychoanalytical considerations by confronting clinical sexology with psychological realities. Still others evoke intercultural aspects revealing the relative character of potency that the phenomenon of Viagra attempts to gloss over.



Herb Roseman: David Hume Meets Viagra: The Misuse of the Science of Erectile Dysfunction. Roman Meinhold: Comparative Melioration and Pathological Pathogenization in Viagra Marketing. Sophie Bourgault: Eros, Viagra and the Good Life: Reflections on Cephalus and Platonic Moderation. Thomas Kapper: A Question of Virtuous Sex: Would Aristotle Take Viagra? Kevin Guilfoy: God Grant Me Chastity, but not Before the Prescription Runs Out: St. Augustine on Viagra. Robert Vuckovich: Diogenes of Sinope Gets Hard on Viagra. Robert Redeker: Viagra and the Utopia of Immortality. Thorsten Botz-Bornstein: Red Pill or Blue Pill? Viagra and the Virtual. Connie Price: Enhancing Desire Philosophically: Feminism, Viagra, and the Biopolitics of the Future. Anthony Okeregbe: Virility, Viagrification and Virtue: Re-reading Humane Vitae in an African Light. Donal O'Mathuna: Erecting New Goals for Medicine: Viagra and Medicalization. Claude Raphael Samama: Desire and its Mysteries: Erectile Stimulators between Thighs and Selves. Thorsten Botz-Bornstein: America and Viagra or How the White Negro Became a Little Whiter: Viagra as an Afro-Disiac. Bassam Romaya: Erectus Interuptus: Not All Erections are Equal.

If this book stays on your mind for more than four hours consult your librarian.


Photo: Copyright©2010 botzbornstein

courtesy of Flying dog inc.

Back to Publications