The Philosophy of Viagra Call for Contributions

Discussion started on English Language Teaching

Call for Contributions
[please distribute widely, this is legitimate]
The Philosophy of Viagra
Published by Rodopi in the “Philosophy of Sex and Love” series. Series editor: Adrienne McEvoy. Volume editor: Thorsten Botz-Bornstein
The impotency remedy Viagra is the “fastest selling drug in history” (McGinn 1998). 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” (Vares & Braun 2006) not only intensifying the medicalization of impotency current since the early 1980s (Tiefer 1986), 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. A further concern is that through Viagra, the traditional gender role of the “potent man and the happy woman” is restored without any critical revision (Loe 2004). In spite of, or because of, the narrow humanistic basis offered by its producers, Viagra has obtained the status of a lifestyle drug.
It is clear that Viagra needs to be examined not only from a sociological but also from a philosophical point of view.
So far, there are only relatively few serious philosophical attempts at tackling the Viagra phenomenon. Examples are “Deleuze on Viagra” by Annie Potts and Tiefer’s “Doing the Viagra Tango” published by Radical Philosophy. Lee Quinby, in his essay on “Virile Reality” (1999), observes a “Viagra Effect” producing a viagrified reality, which is “mediated violence, clean war, and computer games.”
What do philosophers have to say about the “viagrification” culture? Is there a philosophical principle behind Viagra as a cultural phenomenon?
Possible subjects are:
Viagra and Posthumanism (artificial life)
The Body as a Machine
Reality and Desire
Pursuing Hedonism. Why not?
Non-natural sex?
Ethical concerns about Viagra
Viagra and the Virtual. Through Viagra the desire is not created but has always been there in a virtual (that is, not actual but also not non-actual) form. Through Viagra the desire becomes (virtually) real.
Send abstracts to Deadline for abstracts: September 1 2009. For articles: July 1 2010.
Updates at
#2 - July 14, 2009, 11:02:55 AM
Robert L. Seltman


0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.