Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION pornography. Introduction I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand."— Presentation transcript:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that. Justice Potter Steward
First Proposal Something is pornographic iff. First Proposal: Something is pornographic iff it is sexually explicit material. Something is sexually explicit iff it is an explicit depiction of sexual activity or sexual organs.
Something is pornographic iff. First Proposal: Something is pornographic iff it is sexually explicit material. Something is sexually explicit iff it is an explicit depiction of sexual activity or sexual organs.
First Proposal The Shoe-Fetishists. Anthropologists discover a small island where there is a group of people who are so tremendously sexually aroused by shoes that magazines containing photographs of shoes serve precisely the same function that magazines like Penthouse serve in our society. Most people who purchase the magazines do so with the intention of becoming sexually aroused; activists protest the magazines on the grounds that one should indulge ones shoe fetish only when doing so will promote intimacy with another human being; and many decent people, though they admit to having purchased shoe magazines on occasion, by and large consider the frequent use of such magazines to constitute a morbid and prurient obsession with sexual matters. Clearly, it seems, the shoe magazines of this society are pornographic. What is Pornography?, page 122
Second Proposal Pornography is the depiction by visual, literary, or aural means, of subject-matter intended to be sexually stimulating, when that depiction is for the purpose of such stimulation. Moral Matters, page 226
Second Proposal Second Proposal: Something is pornographic iff it is primarily intended to produce sexual arousal in the audience.
The Feminist Proposal Pornography...is verbal or pictorial material which represents or describes sexual behavior that is degrading or abusive to one or more of the participants in such away as to endorse the degradation. Pornography, Oppression, and Freedom, page 43
The Feminist Proposal We define pornography as the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures or words that also includes women dehumanized as sexual objects, things, or commodities… Feminism Unmodified, page 176
Third Proposal The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Miller v. California
Third Proposal Something is offensive (in a particular society, at a particular time) iff typical members of that society are then disposed to take offense at it. Something is pruient (in a particular society, at a particular time) iff typical members of that society are then disposed to have a sexual reaction to it. Third Proposal: Something is pornographic iff it is (a) offensive, (b) pruient, and (c) lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Third Proposal More importantly, if people stopped being offended by magazines like Penthouse and Hustler, those magazines would not necessarily cease to be pornographic. If this were not the case, one way to rid the world of pornography would be to destroy or re-educate everybody who was offended by such magazines. Indeed, in a society like ours where tolerance and open-mindedness are considered to be among the highest moral virtues, it is quite reasonable to think that (someday, anyway) those who are considered most decent will be just those people who arent offended by much of anything, except maybe intolerance. But there could still be pornography in such a society. What is Pornography?, page 229