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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L125-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2011
Retrieved July 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 think that it is wrong because it has a corrupting or morally damaging effect on those who consume it and on society in general, while others claim that it is wrong only because and in so far as it causes offence to unwilling observers, or physical harm to those involved in its production, or increases the incidence of violence, particularly sexual violence, in society as a whole. (3) Should pornography be restricted by law? Some think that, in a liberal society, the values of individual freedom and autonomy speak against legal restriction, and they argue that those who favour legal restriction are supporting nonliberal or even illiberal values. Recently, however, feminist theorists have argued that liberal values themselves may require the legal restriction of pornography.

Citing this article:
Dodsworth, Ashley and Susan Mendus. Pornography, 2011, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L125-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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