Obscenity as Pornography

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:
 Obscenity as Pornography

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The term “pornographic” is a purely descriptive word referring to sexually explicit writing and pictures designed to induce sexual excitement in the reader or observer. To use the terms “obscene” and “pornographic” interchangeably, as if they referred to the same thing, is to beg the question of whether any or all pornographic materials are obscene. Whether any given acknowledged form of pornography is really obscene is an open question to be settled by argument and not by definitional fiat. The following subjects are discussed: the contrast between pornographic writing and literature and drama; artful pornography; pornographic pictorial art, poetry, and program music; how sex can be obscene; the feminist case against pornography; and violent pornography.

Keywords: pornography; obscenity; literature; drama; film; music; sex; violence; feminist

Chapter.  18101 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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