•  
  •  
 

Article Title

Pornography and Disgust

Abstract

Disgust about material objects and moral behavior are both at issue in understanding pornography. Previous debates were fueled primarily by moral disgust. Erotic art may elicit moral disgust, but only hard-core pornography elicits material disgust. I discuss the role of attraction and aversion in labeling artworks pornographic. Since we always have a choice between acknowledging and ignoring a disgust elicitor, aversion may be a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for such a label. In submitting our choice to rational critique, we must ask: what do we accept as a consequence of the claim that that x is disgusting? Relying on moral disgust, the traditionalist's verdict that x is pornographic can be grounded exclusively in his report that for him x is a disgust elicitor. The skeptic must submit all disgust elicitors to rational critique. As a result of such a critique, the skeptic may agree (or disagree) with the traditionalist that x is pornographic. Also, the skeptic may decide that x provides pleasure despite or because of its painful aspect. A weak defense of the distinction between works of pornography and erotic artworks is offered with the help of examples; a stronger and more speculative defense of the distinction relies on the connection between material disgust elicitors and death.

Included in

Esthetics Commons

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.