In Defence of Animal Homosexuality

Pieter R. Adriaens
2019 Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology  
Is there such thing as animal homosexuality? I begin this paper with a brief discussion of two case studies of homosexual behaviour in nonhuman animals, notably cockchafers and king penguins, in order to reveal the persistent attempts of some animal scientists to explain away animal homosexuality. I then go on to identify and analyse two philosophical concerns underlying these attempts: the problem of other minds and the problem of anthropomorphism. Critics of animal homosexuality seem to
more » ... ality seem to assume a) that there is no way of knowing whether nonhuman animals have minds; b) that even if they would in fact have minds, they still would not be capable of having the mental states that we usually associate with human homosexuality; and c) that even if they were capable of such states, there would still be the issue that same-sex sexual mental states and behaviours are often mistakenly identified as sexual states and behaviours. By providing arguments against each of these assumptions, I support the claim that some animals exhibit homosexuality, that there are homosexual mental states in at least some nonhuman animals, and that these states may help to explain homosexual behaviours.
doi:10.3998/ptpbio.16039257.0011.022 fatcat:wmpqjxwqrvdhrdqpqu5mjwxeom