Drawing the Line: Art versus Pornography

Philosophy Compass 6 (6):385-397 (2011)
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Art and pornography are often thought to be mutually exclusive. The present article argues that this popular view is without adequate support. Section 1 looks at some of the classic ways of drawing the distinction between these two domains of representation. In Section 2, it is argued that the classic dichotomies may help to illuminate the differences between certain prototypical instances of pornography and art, but will not serve to justify the claim that pornography and art are fundamentally incompatible. Section 3 considers those definitions of pornography that make an a priori distinction between pornographic and artistic representations. The difference between the ‘merely’ erotic and the pornographic is also discussed in this context. Section 4 provides a critical assessment of the most recent and elaborate arguments against the compatibility of pornography and art. Finally, in Section 5, a case is made for the existence of pornographic art, as a subcategory of erotic art



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Hans Maes
University of Kent

Citations of this work

How Not To Watch Feminist Pornography.Richard Kimberly Heck - 2021 - Feminist Philosophical Quarterly 7 (1):Article 3.
Blurred lines: How fictional is pornography?Aidan McGlynn - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (4):e12721.

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References found in this work

Speech acts and unspeakable acts.Rae Langton - 1993 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (4):293-330.
Objectification.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1995 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (4):249-291.
Civilization and its discontents.Sigmund Freud - 1952/1930 - In John Martin Rich (ed.), Readings in the Philosophy of Education. Belmont, Calif., Wadsworth Pub. Co..
Art, Emotion and Ethics.Berys Gaut - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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