‘Objectification’ and Obfuscation

Kritike 10 (2):173-90 (2016)
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Abstract
Martha Nussbaum attempts to improve the clarity of the obscure talk of feminists and conservatives about objectification in connection with sexual matters. Her discussion is a substantial improvement. However, it is inconsistent and opaque, and she continues to apply the pejorative term ‘objectification’ to activities which she herself admits are morally unproblematic and which may even be a joyous part of life. I explain the deficiencies in Nussbaum’s discussion, including the fact that she does not notice the one way of objectification that seems inherently problematic, and I show that casual sex, prostitution and pornography are normally not morally problematic even while they exhibit some of Nussbaum’s ways of objectification. The term ‘objectification’ should be eschewed because it is a barrier to clear thinking.
Keywords Objectification  Nussbaum  Prostitution  Pornography  Casual Sex  Using as a Means  Autonomy  Immanuel Kant  Fungibility  Violability
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