This dissertation is an attempt to provide a philosophical basis upon which the descriptions of human sexuality, as revealed by the natural and social sciences, may be coordinated, synthesized, and fully understood. Our primary purpose is to reassess the way in which human sexuality is conceived, studied, experienced, and expressed. This involves viewing sexuality as an essential function of personhood, incorporating it within the whole of human existence (bio-physical, psycho-social, and spiritual), and ultimately re-evaluating what it means to speak of persons as sexual beings.^ The meaning we assign to "human sexuality" is broader than the ordinary one. We use this term "sexuality" to indicate a form of human behavior whereby an embodied consciousness expresses itself and finds expression in its relations with others and with the world. It is characterized by the fact that, while arising out of the bio-physical conditions of physical--i.e., reproductive--sex, it is not restricted to these conditions for its full meaningfulness. Instead, human sexuality is conceptualized as a form of behavior through which we may manifest our unique ability to orient ourselves to the world, subjectively and creatively, as persons.^ Using Merleau-Ponty's The Structure of Behavior as a running thread, this phenomenological inquiry proceeds from a bio-physical description of human sexuality through a psycho-social one, and brings us to a point where it becomes possible to distinguish the fact of human sexuality, human sexual behavior, the consciousness of sex differences, and the consequences of the consciousness of sex differences. Our phenomenology of human sexuality thus enables us to recognize the true interdependence of all the factors that go into an individual's sexual make-up. Along with this, it provides a trans-disciplinary basis upon which we can create a synthesis and a unity of the various perspectival approaches to the subject. Further our investigation serves to point out the need for us to consider more carefully the value of sexuality in human life, and to re-evaluate seriously the framework from within which it is currently conceptualized. ^

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Recommended Citation

MICHAEL JOSEPH ALFANO, "TOWARD A PHENOMENOLOGY OF HUMAN SEXUALITY" (January 1, 1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8628538.