Debating Pornography

Debating Pornography

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Description

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, debates over pornography have raged, and the explosive spread in recent years of sexually explicit images across the Internet has only added more urgency to these disagreements. Politicians, judges, clergy, citizen activists, and academics have weighed in on the issues for decades, complicating notions about what precisely is at stake, and who stands to benefit or be harmed by pornography.

This volume takes an unusual but radical approach by analyzing pornography philosophically. Philosophers Andrew Altman and Lori Watson recalibrate debates by viewing pornography from distinctly ethical platforms - namely, does a person's right to produce and consume pornography supersede a person's right to protect herself from something often violent and deeply misogynistic?

In a for-and-against format, Altman first argues that there is an individual right to create and view pornographic images, rooted in a basic right to sexual autonomy. Watson counteracts Altman's position by arguing that pornography inherently undermines women's equal status. Central to their disagreement is the question of whether pornography truly harms women enough to justify laws aimed at restricting the production and circulation of such material. Through this debate, the authors address
key questions that have dogged both those who support and oppose pornography: What is pornography? What is the difference between the material widely perceived as objectionable and material that is merely erotic or suggestive? Do people have a right to sexual arousal? Does pornography, or some types of
it, cause violence against women? How should rights be weighed against consequentialist considerations in deciding what laws and policies ought to be adopted?

Bolstered by insights from philosophy and law, the two authors engage in a reasoned examination of questions that cannot be ignored by anyone who takes seriously the values of freedom and equality.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 149 x 215 x 26mm | 554g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199358702
  • 9780199358700

Table of contents

Introduction by Andrew Altman and Lori Watson

Part One: Pornography and Sexual Autonomy
by Andrew Altman
1. Sex, Speech, and the Right to Autonomy
2. Obscenity and Pornography
3. Evidence and Harm
4. The MacKinnon-Dworkin Ordinance
5. Pornography as Subordinating Speech
6. Conclusion: The Big Historical Picture
References

Part Two: A Defense of Sex Equality Approach to Pornography
by Lori Watson
7. Sex, Equality, and Pornography
8. Pornography
9. Defenses of Pornography
10. Conclusion
References
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Review Text

This book provides a clear, thorough. pro-and-con philosophical analysis of major issues about pornography and the debates pornography generates. Andrew Altman and Lori Watson provide strong arguments to support their conclusions, while engaging with various studies on the effects pornography has on its consumers. Their volume is an excellent introduction to the ethical issues pornography raises. At the same time, it can be appreciated by the more advanced reader already familiar with contemporary philosophical discussions about pornography. Lina Papadaki, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Review quote

This book provides a clear, thorough. pro-and-con philosophical analysis of major issues about pornography and the debates pornography generates. Andrew Altman and Lori Watson provide strong arguments to support their conclusions, while engaging with various studies on the effects pornography has on its consumers. Their volume is an excellent introduction to the ethical issues pornography raises. At the same time, it can be appreciated by the more advanced reader
already familiar with contemporary philosophical discussions about pornography. * Lina Papadaki, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * This book is essential for anyone interested in the various debates about pornography. Altman and Watson deftly and clearly lay out the major issues, and they engage one another in a careful and thoughtful debate that reveals the strengths and weaknesses of each side. * A.W. Eaton, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago * This timely debate between two prominent philosophers is an excellent introduction to the ethical issues raised by pornography. Highly recommended! * Susan J. Brison, Eunice and Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, Dartmouth College *
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About Andrew Altman

Andrew Altman is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University. He specializes in contemporary legal and political philosophy and has published three books, as well as dozens of articles in such journals as Philosophy and Public Affairs, Ethics, and Legal Theory. He is the author of the entries "Civil Rights" and "Discrimination" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Lori Watson is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at University of San Diego and affiliate faculty in the School of Law. She specializes in political philosophy, feminism, and legal philosophy. Her book, Equal Citizenship and Public Reason: A Feminist Political Liberalism (co-authored with Christie Hartley), was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. She is currently working on Debating Sex Work (with Jessica Flannigan), forthcoming from
OUP.
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