The Problem with Polygamy
Philosophical Topics, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 109-122, 2009
23 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2009 Last revised: 5 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 22, 2009
Polygamy is a hotly contested practice and open to widespread misunderstandings. This practice is defined as a relationship between either one husband and multiple wives or one wife and multiple husbands. Today, 'polygamy' almost exclusively takes the form of one husband with multiple wives. In this article, my focus will centre on limited defences of polygamy offered recently by Chesire Calhoun and Martha Nussbaum. I will argue that these defences are unconvincing. The problem with polygamy is primarily that it is a structurally inegalitarian practice in both theory and fact. Polygamy should be opposed for this reason.
Note: This paper is an earlier draft of Thom Brooks, "The Problem with Polygamy," Philosophical Topics 37(2) (2009): 109-22.
Keywords: polygamy, Calhoun, Nussbaum, Brooks, Parekh, Barry, marriage, polygyny, polyandry, polyamory, egalitarianism, egalitarian, inegalitarian, multiculturalism, toleration
JEL Classification: K0, K10, K14, K19, K30, K39, K40, K42, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation