The Idea of the Obscene

Joel Feinberg

in The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law: Volume 2: Offense to Others

Published in print May 1988 | ISBN: 9780195052152
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785872 | DOI:
 The Idea of the Obscene

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Obscenity is an extreme form of offensiveness producing repugnance, shock, or disgust, although the offending materials can, at the same time, be alluring to some degree. The main feature that distinguishes obscene things from other repellant or offensive things is their blatancy: their massive obtrusiveness, their extreme and unvarnished bluntness, their brazenly naked exhibition. The three classes of objects that can be termed as “obscene” are: obscene natural objects, obscene persons, and obscene created things. There are three ways in which these objects can be offensive to the point of obscenity: by direct offense to the senses, by offense to lower order sensibilities, by offense to higher sensibilities.

Keywords: obscenity; repugnance; offense; vulgarity

Chapter.  13614 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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