Date of Award

5-3-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Andrew Altman

Third Advisor

Andrew I. Cohen

Fourth Advisor

Sandra Dwyer

Abstract

In a critique of sex-based theories of rape, Aletta Brenner suggests that feminists such as Catharine MacKinnon rely on a harmful set of assumptions when theorizing about the law of rape leading to harms to victims and perpetrators. I defend MacKinnon’s position in order to demonstrate how MacKinnon’s theory does not employ the assumptions Brenner suggests and therefore does not lead harms. However, I highlight one concern of Brenner’s that MacKinnon’s theory does not adequately address: that MacKinnon insists that all rape is sex based. I posit that in Same Sex Mutual Intimate Partner Violence, rape appears to be sexual-orientation based rather that sex based and suggest that MacKinnon’s theory ought to make distinctions that allow the law to be sensitive to those most vulnerable to rape.

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