Is Polygamy Morally Ethical?
Brittney Brown, Kasandra Foster, Kelsay Helm, and Alicia Grant PHI 105 Online
April 22, 2012
Polygamy is a highly debated topic among many people across the world and largely misunderstood. Polygamy is commonly defined as a marital system in which one man is married concurrently to more than one woman. The word “polygamy” actually translates from the Greek language to mean, “often married.” The correct term for a man with multiple wives is called, “polygyny.” Over the years, the terms have been intertwined, and now polygamy is synonymously known for a man married to multiple wives. This lifestyle is a multicultural phenomenon, which has been occurring since the days of Adam and Eve. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this lifestyle including; you must be a Mormon, incest, rape, and forced, under-age marriages take place, and many other issues that we will address throughout this paper. Although for many people polygamy is misunderstood and viewed as immoral, this lifestyle has proven to be beneficial to certain cultures throughout the world and the preferred family style. However, we cannot come to the agreement that polygamy is morally ethical.
Brief Background History
Regardless of what anyone may think or say, we are now fairly certain that human beings, going back as far as five million years, started out as monogamists. Some where in between, certain cultures seem to have diverged into polygamy. Anthropologists now believe that monogamy was the first step in the development of mankind.
There are some clues that lead us to believe that mankind started out as monogamists. First, fossil records show us that early humans traveled in small bands with an approximately equal number of men and women. Also, the earliest male ancestors lacked the enlarged canine incisors that are characteristic of polygamous societies where males have intense male competition. This information has led to a revised story of human sexual evolution. All societies may have practiced polygamy at one point or another, but the most advanced and successful have embraced monogamy and made it the standard practice. There is a strong connection between polygamy and primitive societies. It is thought that polygamy holds a society back from advancing.
Polygamy is found throughout the world in many different cultures. In some it is an accepted way of life, but in others it is looked down upon and illegal. Polygamy wasn't always looked at in the aspect that men could have as many wives as they wanted. In the early 1850's, men often only had two wives who lived in separate houses. The men would visit each wife on either a daily or weekly basis. There was no rule that stated how the women had to coincide with each other; it was left up to the family how they adapted to the circumstances. In more advanced cultures, such as in Democratic France, polygamy is considered to be a problem that they want to eradicate.
It is estimated that in France there are currently between 150,000 and 400,000 people living in polygamous households. In France, polygamy was made illegal in 1993, so those who are currently living this way were either married outside the country or have been living this way since before polygamy became illegal. The French government's argument against polygamy is that it prevents immigrants from becoming integrated into the French society and that it goes against the principles of gender equality reverenced by the constitution. The northern Paris suburb of Cergy is known for its polygamous population. The African immigrants here are from Mali where it is common to be a part of a polygamous family. To deal with the problem, French authorities are now employing a strategy they call “de-cohabitation” in order to reduce the number of...
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