DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L125-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

There are three main questions about pornography. (1) How is pornography to be defined? Some definitions include the contention that it is morally wrong, while others define it neutrally in terms of its content and function. (2) Why is it wrong? Some accounts see the moral wrong of pornography in its tendency to corrupt individuals or to have detrimental effects on the morality of society; other accounts declare pornography to be objectionable only in so far as it causes physical harm to those involved in its production, or offence to unwilling observers. (3) Should pornography be restricted by law? Controversy here centres around whether the law should be used to discourage immorality, and whether the importance of free speech and individual autonomy are such as to rule out legislating against pornography. Here, the pornography debate raises very general questions about law and about autonomy in liberal societies.

    Citing this article:
    Mendus, Susan. Pornography, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L125-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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