Authored by: Lucy McDonald

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9781138370678
eBook ISBN: 9781003286523
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers an overdue philosophical model of flirting. Flirting, I argue, is a conversational game involving two moves; push moves, which involve presupposing an intimacy that does not yet exist, and pull moves, which involve playfully pretending to block those presuppositions. As flirters perform rallies of these moves, they gradually increase the intimacy between them through a process known by philosophers of language as accommodation. This model illuminates a common social ritual and it can be marshaled against abuses of the notion of flirting by perpetrators of harassment and assault.

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