Philosophy and Theology 12 (2):317-340 (2000)
The status of pornography is commonly disputed strictly in moralistic or legalistic terms. Although these approaches are vastly significant for promulgating and instituting public policy, they ignore serious aesthetic values of pornographic productions. I argue that an aesthetic approach clearly reveals some fundamental difficulties and categorizational flaws that policy makers often make. By incorporating the methodology of aesthetic distance theories, this study addresses pornographic perception from the realm of psychical aesthetic confrontation. In making these comparisons with another type of aesthetic experience, namely artworks, we find that we cannot specifically discern any clearly defined boundary which empirically determines where the experience of art ends and pornography begins. In developing and supporting theses psychical concepts, I introduce the problem of the indeterminate psychical aesthetic distance. In sum, our deliberation upon any human creation must be conscientiously investigated from every perspective that philosophical analysis has to offer; doing so will undoubtedly supplement and enrich our understanding of complex philosophical concerns. Thus, this study is an imperative prerequisite for anyone thinking about the status of pornography from any serious philosophical perspective
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