David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Law and Philosophy 13 (2):195 - 239 (1994)
In this essay we shall examine the contemporary jurisprudential thinking and legal precedents surrounding the issue of the sanctionability of pornography. We shall catalogue them by their logical presumptions, such as whether they view pornography as speech or act, whether they view pornography as obscenity, political hate-speech or anomalous other, whether they would scrutinize legislation governing pornography by a balancing of the harm of repression against the harm of permission, and who exactly they view as the victims.We shall take a special interest in the most recent, but unsuccessful, attempt by a subgroup of feminists to proscribe pornography by treating it as neither political speech nor sexual speech but speech which causes harm which is both political and sexual. They would like it to be considered as a special kind of odious propaganda undeserving of protection because it promulgates a mental state conducive to criminal activity, and hence is criminal in and of itself. However, the repression of propaganda, even odious propaganda, is not so easily accomplished in this country.
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