Pornography as Simulation

In Dave Monroe (ed.), Pornography: Philosophy for Everyone (2010)
This essay explains the prevalence of porn consumption by modeling it as a form of simulation. According to simulation theory (Gordon 1986, Goldman 2006) people predict and explain other’s behavior by using their own mind to model the mind of a target individual, much like an engineer might use a model aircraft to simulate the behavior of an actual aircraft. However, the cognitive mechanisms required for simulation have application outside of psychological interpretation. For example, it is plausible that while consuming pornography individuals simulate the actual activities as depicted by the pornographic material. On this construal, viewers of pornography think and feel as though they are truly having the depicted experience: from the psychological and phenomenological perceptive of someone watching a pornographic video, they really are being sexually pleasured by others, and in just those specific ways. The goal of this essay is to develop the pornography-as-simulation model and examine both its social and theoretical implications.
Keywords Simulation  Pornography  Feminism  Philosophy of Film
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