Pornography

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mickalos
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 06:59 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;111001 wrote:
Actually, he asked what might be the arguments for porn, not prostitution.

And in answer to that, I'm not sure a strong case could be made for it. Pornography takes visual and audio stimuli, which our species has a drive for, and seeks to capitalize on it monetarily. It taps into something very personal - right at the biological level - to snag some cash.

We've discussed the ethics of it, it's effects and the implications for both those 'performing' and those consuming, but I'm not sure I've ever seen this question asked like this. I'm curious to see any arguments for, as was asked.

Thanks

On the contrary, I think most of the arguments against it in this thread have been pretty flimsy. To inject a bit of philosophy into this thread, the utilitarian argument for porn is pretty indisputable, it give pleasure (excuse the phrase) to probably millions of people, often on a regular basis. To play devil's advocate, that pornography promotes happiness should be enough to say that it is morally justified. People desire happiness for its own sake, and indeed it is the only thing desirable for it's own sake. Things like virtue and money can come to be desired for their own sake, but when this happens they should be considered as being part of the concept of happiness, in the sense that the mere possession of money or virtue makes one happier, and their loss causes misery independent of the loss of anything else that they may bring instrumentally. Thus, as happiness is desirable, and the only thing that is desirable, this is what our actions should aim at, or so Mill's 'proof' goes. As pornography promotes happiness, not only should we sanction it, but we should encourage it.

Virtue ethics would see people in the porn industry showing industriousness (or at least they should), courage, conscientiousness, etc., but also showing meanness, shamelessness, and immodesty. Viewers of porn may show liberality and moderation (as opposed to insensible sexual temperance), but also lust, envy, seediness, etc. So all in all, it's a mixed bag, and on the whole morally neutral.

Finally, the Kantian case also seems pretty weak to me; could we really be duty bound not to watch or make porn? The argument is probably the strongest I think, but still pretty weak. The second formulation of the categorical imperative goes, "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end." There is a pretty obvious and traditional argument that porn objectifies women, and the person watching porn is using these people as a means of self gratification. However, I would say that those who watch porn are using a product, not people; it would be absurd to say that when we go to the cinema we are using the actors as a means to our own enjoyment. The focus then shifts on to those in the porn industry, where, no doubt, exploitation does go on in some circumstances, which of course is immoral (at least for the Kantian), but most of the porn industry is not built upon exploitation (except perhaps in somekind of Marxist sense, so perhaps the central tennet of Kantian-Marxism (or Marxist-Kantianism, take your pick) should be that porn is immoral, for the rest of us, it can remain an open question), rather it is based upon voluntary exchange (I mean employment for an agreed wage; not of bodily fluids). Thus, a Kantian should say that porn is perfectly permissible.
 
ArthBH
 
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2010 07:10 pm
@awoelt,
Well what you need to do is ask yourself why exactly you find pornography so wrong? Most porn stars say they enjoy their work and get paid, and secondly, the people watching it enjoy it. You say you know the argument against it, but do you really? The argument is usually of the likes of people being influenced by pornography and not having safe sex, but is that really the case? Kids see people being killed in cowboy films way before they see porn, but they do not go out and kill people. And lets face it, what would be worse to see in real life? Someone being killed or someone having sex? I think most people with their head screwed on would say the former. Not to mention the uncanny link between sexual suppression and serial killers, porn has a use in society, it is a way of releasing stress for the viewers, and a way for people to come to terms with their sexuality. These are two often overlooked things in society that are actually extremely important. Pornography hurts no one, and easily cancels out any possible negatives with it's positives and so in social a economic is perfectly right, and to my mind much more morally acceptable than any cowboy film which depicts murder with such a light sense of entertainment.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 10:43 am
@ArthBH,
The lack of arguments against something is a strong argument for it.

I think it is a crappy job for the women involved, but there are tons of bad jobs. As long as they aren't forced into it, what can you say?

You can say that it puts forward a sexist kind of standard, and I might agree with you. But who can really decide what kind of standard should be put forward? There was tons of rape before porn was invented, I don't think you want to rely on humanities natural instincts.
 
andy1984
 
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 12:56 am
@awoelt,
looks like people have defended porn pretty well here.

in itself i don't think there are many reasons it would be bad. maybe the way it is or has been produced has been unethical or maybe exploitative of women, but i guess the same goes for battery hens, pigs, etc. in food production. its probably true that just like with free range hens these days we also have free range porn stars, with more freedom to do as they please. but do we have more women involved in the production of porn (i mean behind the scenes, etc.), and a more gender neutral portrayal of sex, or is it just men's perspectives and desires that are being portrayed?

i guess my only objection to porn might be that (i assume) there is not enough of the women's perspective or values in it so that it gives a skewed version of sex.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 04:21 am
@andy1984,
The problem is the industry. You can never tell by watching porn that those who are acting out these charades are willing or are not being forced by certain means. It not a perfect world and my worry is that we may be watching scenes of rape or worse. Most of them show the women as an object to be used not equally involved. Morally in my opinion it is not defensible but then so many other horrors we observe are a darn sight worse.
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 11:15 am
@awoelt,
I have made a case against extreme sexual depiction in modern day pornography.
Here's the link. click
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 05:10 am
@ArthBH,
mickalos;111055 wrote:
To play devil's advocate, that pornography promotes happiness should be enough to say that it is morally justified. People desire happiness for its own sake, and indeed it is the only thing desirable for it's own sake. Things like virtue and money can come to be desired for their own sake, but when this happens they should be considered as being part of the concept of happiness, in the sense that the mere possession of money or virtue makes one happier, and their loss causes misery independent of the loss of anything else that they may bring instrumentally. Thus, as happiness is desirable, and the only thing that is desirable, this is what our actions should aim at, or so Mill's 'proof' goes. As pornography promotes happiness, not only should we sanction it, but we should encourage it.

What? Pornography promotes happiness? Well surely this understanding of happiness is very different from that of mine. Happiness is Peace, Love, Freedom, Understanding. Does pornography give these things? Or rather it makes one horny imbecile who masturbates before screen? Is this what thou meanst by happiness?


mickalos;111055 wrote:
Finally, the Kantian case also seems pretty weak to me; could we really be duty bound not to watch or make porn? The argument is probably the strongest I think, but still pretty weak. The second formulation of the categorical imperative goes, "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end." There is a pretty obvious and traditional argument that porn objectifies women, and the person watching porn is using these people as a means of self gratification. However, I would say that those who watch porn are using a product, not people; it would be absurd to say that when we go to the cinema we are using the actors as a means to our own enjoyment. The focus then shifts on to those in the porn industry, where, no doubt, exploitation does go on in some circumstances, which of course is immoral (at least for the Kantian), but most of the porn industry is not built upon exploitation (except perhaps in somekind of Marxist sense, so perhaps the central tennet of Kantian-Marxism (or Marxist-Kantianism, take your pick) should be that porn is immoral, for the rest of us, it can remain an open question), rather it is based upon voluntary exchange (I mean employment for an agreed wage; not of bodily fluids). Thus, a Kantian should say that porn is perfectly permissible.

So to earn money on ones life's tragedy is quite a permissible thing, is it not? The hypocrisy of Western morality is manifested here in its fullness. First you instill in the head of children from all your culture how good is it to have sex in abundance, that it is the necessary component of what they call love. Then at the age of fourteen she loses virginity and since this time the only thing she is interested in is boys. Instead of becoming more intellectual, instead of studying, instead of developing spiritually, she becomes an animal. The HUMAN is used only for its ANIMAL functions. And the worst thing is that she himself looks upon herself as upon an animal and upon men as upon males, because these are the only things she has known in her life. Western hypocrites call this her "free choice"...

ArthBH;116186 wrote:
Well what you need to do is ask yourself why exactly you find pornography so wrong? Most porn stars say they enjoy their work and get paid, and secondly, the people watching it enjoy it. You say you know the argument against it, but do you really? The argument is usually of the likes of people being influenced by pornography and not having safe sex, but is that really the case? Kids see people being killed in cowboy films way before they see porn, but they do not go out and kill people. And lets face it, what would be worse to see in real life? Someone being killed or someone having sex?

One evil does not justifie another one.
ArthBH;116186 wrote:
Pornography hurts no one, and easily cancels out any possible negatives with it's positives and so in social a economic is perfectly right, and to my mind much more morally acceptable than any cowboy film which depicts murder with such a light sense of entertainment.

So pornography hurts no one... Well, let us imagine pornography actress has a child. Let us imagine that child seeing his mama is being fucked in all her holes in the movie. Is that normal? What dost thou think will be with that boy? Imagine this is thy mother...
The point is that when one watches pornography he just ignores all that. And this is perhaps the most fearful thing all that. "I don't care who you are, I don't care what was and will be with you and you children, these are your problems. The only thing I am interested in is my pleasure and as I pay you, you must give me what I want".
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 05:27 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;124309 wrote:
What? Pornography promotes happiness? Well surely this understanding of happiness is very different from that of mine. Happiness is Peace, Love, Freedom, Understanding. Does pornography give these things? Or rather it makes one horny imbecile who masturbates before screen? Is this what thou meanst by happiness?


Well shouldn't the "imbecile" have the freedom to sit in front of the screen and masturbate? Funny how you insight freedom yet immediately contradict yourself. I guess you really don't offer freedom but instead just say you do. It also goes against your "understanding" as well since you should have realized you were being contradicting.

Eudaimon;124309 wrote:

So to earn money on ones life's tragedy is quite a permissible thing, is it not? The hypocrisy of Western morality is manifested here in its fullness.


Sometimes the women actually want to do it, and the money is a bonus. I am not saying all cases but there are hundreds of thousands of women who sell their images to make money, weather naked or not, they do it. You can not claim all of them are victims. That would be like calling everyone who has a job, a victim.

Eudaimon;124309 wrote:

One evil does not justifie another one.


Yeah and it is subjective weather you call the first evil actually a true evil or just one's opinion. Therefore you can't claim that it is an evil being justified by another.

Eudaimon;124309 wrote:

So pornography hurts no one... Well, let us imagine pornography actress has a child. Let us imagine that child seeing his mama is being fucked in all her holes in the movie. Is that normal? What dost thou think will be with that boy? Imagine this is thy mother...
The point is that when one watches pornography he just ignores all that. And this is perhaps the most fearful thing all that. "I don't care who you are, I don't care what was and will be with you and you children, these are your problems. The only thing I am interested in is my pleasure and as I pay you, you must give me what I want".


That is only one case and you can not claim that all sons would feel negative or have psychological issues if their mother was a porn star. You can't make that claim, instead you are only basing it off your own opinion.

I think the real damage comes from trying to continuously make sex taboo. There was a case just recently where a young girl made a joke about wanting one of her classmates in a sexual way and she got branded for it. She was routinely harassed by other classmates because of the joke she eventually killed herself because she couldn't take the ridicule. She never even kissed a boy let alone had sex and look at what societies taboo led her to do.
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 02:44 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;124310 wrote:
Well shouldn't the "imbecile" have the freedom to sit in front of the screen and masturbate? Funny how you insight freedom yet immediately contradict yourself. I guess you really don't offer freedom but instead just say you do. It also goes against your "understanding" as well since you should have realized you were being contradicting.

Well, my friend, don't put the words I did not say in my mouth. I am not going to ban pornography. Thou knowst, in the S.U. it was banned but the first thing people tried tried to do when they were abroad was to go and watch it.
Why should we always think in the terms of banning or giving permission? In the societies where pornography or prostitution are allowed they become business, that is socially accepted thing. When you collect taxes from it, you actually accept it as something "normal".
When you ban it you create a forbidden fruit.
The only thing we can do is to be free from it ourselves without trying to regulate it.

Krumple;124310 wrote:
Sometimes the women actually want to do it, and the money is a bonus. I am not saying all cases but there are hundreds of thousands of women who sell their images to make money, weather naked or not, they do it. You can not claim all of them are victims. That would be like calling everyone who has a job, a victim.

Yes, a lot of women are offering their images themselves, but what connexion does it have with what I said? I think we should first of all examine what is victim. Thou obviously meanst that this is a person who is forced to do that job, forced physically or economically. I can see beyond all that, beyond that so-called "freedom of choice". When we look at those girls that do that, when we look with open heart we can see a tragedy which stays behind all that. That tragedy is, as I have said, that they stop believing in Good, in something which transcends egoism and that animal struggle for surviving and reproduction. For them the ideal of Beauty, Good and Truth does not exist. And they don't want it to exist, because it will show them their own misery.

Krumple;124310 wrote:
Yeah and it is subjective weather you call the first evil actually a true evil or just one's opinion. Therefore you can't claim that it is an evil being justified by another.

Perhaps the influence of violence in films is a matter of another discussion. I think it is obvious that it raises the level of violence in society. See Aggression by L. Berkowitz.

Krumple;124310 wrote:
That is only one case and you can not claim that all sons would feel negative or have psychological issues if their mother was a porn star. You can't make that claim, instead you are only basing it off your own opinion.

If thou acceptest that, well... To me, the image of mother has always been connected with the idea of self-forgetfulness, with the supremacy of reason over instincts. I think that for every child his mother the symbol of that.
Now you take him and say: "Thy mother is ***** as well all other *****es. Look what she is doing, she is not better than thou."
What do you do with the soul of this child, of this human? You kill this faith in love in him, from his childhood you teach him that even his Mother -- what can be holier than mother for a child? -- is nothing but an animal. Is it surprise therefore, that now we are living in a society of egoist?

Krumple;124310 wrote:
I think the real damage comes from trying to continuously make sex taboo. There was a case just recently where a young girl made a joke about wanting one of her classmates in a sexual way and she got branded for it. She was routinely harassed by other classmates because of the joke she eventually killed herself because she couldn't take the ridicule. She never even kissed a boy let alone had sex and look at what societies taboo led her to do.

Taboos exist in a hypocritical society where one has to play that he doesn't want to have sex, whereas inwardly he is always ready for it. But what happens when desire disappears? When we see what it really is, it dissolves both inwardly and outwardly. What is here to taboo?
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 07:27 pm
@awoelt,
awoelt;110552 wrote:
I am against porn. I know the argument against it. But i do not really understand the argument for it. Could anybody help me?:poke-eye:

4 the record i mean i think it is illogical to veiw porn. like red tube and playboy. that kind of ting


Lol? u serius? .......

---------- Post added 02-04-2010 at 03:11 AM ----------

What does it even mean to give an argument for pornografy? It's legality?
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:12 am
@de budding,
I feel that pornography is (overall) neither positive or negative.
What it IS, is educational and informative.
Human sexuality has been repressed by religion for so long that more damage is done out of ignorance than intention.
Viewing all the myriad variations of human sexuality will at least guide you to where both your own potential and limitations are. If nothing more you will go forward with knowledge rather than ignorance.

GS
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:36 am
@awoelt,
I agree, but it is also a double edged sword since we have the ability to reason we often do not use it. Once you create the problem, by making sex taboo, trying to undo it would lead people to believe that it should be treated in the opposite, which is also incorrect. So what would happen is a huge disregard for sex in a responsible or respectful way. This would only fuel those who want to oppress sexual desire.

To put it another way, I'll use the alcohol laws of the US. Currently you have to be 21 to purchase alcohol. If they removed the law, kids would run out and buy it just because they can and weren't allowed to before. This would create a temporary rise in stupidity for a while. Until the novelty of it wore off.

This is why for having such capacity to reason humans are often the dumbest creatures on the planet.
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:57 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;125769 wrote:

To put it another way, I'll use the alcohol laws of the US. Currently you have to be 21 to purchase alcohol. If they removed the law, kids would run out and buy it just because they can and weren't allowed to before. This would create a temporary rise in stupidity for a while. Until the novelty of it wore off.


Agreed !
But by this, are you saying that change should not be attempted because of the risk - even as you state - the risk may only be temporary ? Better to stay fixed in position ?
Smile

GS
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 01:26 pm
@groundedspirit,
groundedspirit;125776 wrote:
Agreed !
But by this, are you saying that change should not be attempted because of the risk - even as you state - the risk may only be temporary ? Better to stay fixed in position ?
Smile

GS


Not exactly, I am saying sometimes the problem causes other problems when you try to solve them. Making sex taboo is creating problems that people refuse to acknowledge. But to solve this problem it would temporarily create a new problem. You can fix it, but it is a not something you can do quickly, nor should you do it quickly.
 
ArthBH
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 06:49 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;124309 wrote:


ArthBH wrote:

Pornography hurts no one, and easily cancels out any possible negatives with it's positives and so in social a economic is perfectly right, and to my mind much more morally acceptable than any cowboy film which depicts murder with such a light sense of entertainment.


So pornography hurts no one... Well, let us imagine pornography actress has a child. Let us imagine that child seeing his mama is being fucked in all her holes in the movie. Is that normal?


Well, let us imagine an actress has a child. Let us imagine that child seeing his mama being brutally murdered in a film. Is that normal?
No it is not normal, but people should not be dragged down by the fact they may have children. I find you quite sexist personally, you clearly think woman should live there lives around having children. Shame on you.
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 08:20 am
@ArthBH,
Krumple;125794 wrote:
Not exactly, I am saying sometimes the problem causes other problems when you try to solve them. Making sex taboo is creating problems that people refuse to acknowledge. But to solve this problem it would temporarily create a new problem. You can fix it, but it is a not something you can do quickly, nor should you do it quickly.

So, thy view is that now the situation is so awful because of sex taboos imposed by religion? Well, I could agree with this, but I think we should not blame religion, religion when understood as thou obviously understandest that is nothing but hallowed way of living which contributes to the surviving of community. Sex caused unwished pregnancies, struggle amongst males for female, therefore it had to be restricted.
Now, since the situation has changed, as we have contraceptives this reason for tabooing it drops.
But to reabilitate it absolutely is impossible for modern society because sex is a form of egoism, which doesn't know anyone save for itself, it is very closely connected with violence. Thus, it is evidently not the time to destroy those "taboos" and what we are having is not that. If those taboos were abolished we should have a chaos with everyday rape, killing u.s.w. This is against commubitie's surviving instinct. What is happening, is nothing but making them not so strict as they were before.

ArthBH;125936 wrote:
Well, let us imagine an actress has a child. Let us imagine that child seeing his mama being brutally murdered in a film. Is that normal?
No it is not normal, but people should not be dragged down by the fact they may have children. I find you quite sexist personally, you clearly think woman should live there lives around having children. Shame on you.

No, thou art totally wrong. I should like to see both man and woman being free. And first of all free from sex. But to live such a life of purity and beauty one must have clear understanding of how the things really are. And being realist, I must understand that those "porn-stars" are surely not on that level and they may have children. I should keep it in mind.
Anyways, I don't really see what is thy objection? I used children as an example how we destroy the faith in Good in the hearts of people, because they always view their mother as a symbol of kindness and purity. There may be found many other examples: I shouldn't also like to see the girl I love being in that situation, no one who is for me.
I could recommend thee to read this story by Maupassant:
The Works of Guy de Maupassant Volume 4 - Google Books

I think you all are looking at the problem from the ego point. You are not quite interested in what other person may feel. You find porn as a way to become more informated about sex etc., which is the same as to kill an animal for the sake of tasting meat.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 10:29 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;126125 wrote:
But to reabilitate it absolutely is impossible for modern society because sex is a form of egoism, which doesn't know anyone save for itself, it is very closely connected with violence.


This is a huge stretch and placing it in such a way is dishonest. Perhaps this is your own reflection but it is not a fact.

Eudaimon;126125 wrote:
If those taboos were abolished we should have a chaos with everyday rape, killing u.s.w.


Now you are just plain wrong here. I can't believe you are trying to pass this off to be some fact. Rapists care nothing for taboos or laws, if they did they would be rapists. Lifting a taboo would not cause rapists. It is absurd that you have that line of reasoning. If it is true then I am a rapist. I am not even sure why I should be responding to your nonsense.
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 11:10 am
@Krumple,
As often happens, a discussion like this tends to splinter with various points and analogies posing to send it in many directions.
But in the beginning it was a very general question and cannot really proceed in any depth without first even defining the term "pornography". Because lacking a common agreed upon definition we can't even address the topic - but only people's reaction to the topic.

GS
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 11:54 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;126164 wrote:
This is a huge stretch and placing it in such a way is dishonest. Perhaps this is your own reflection but it is not a fact.
Now you are just plain wrong here. I can't believe you are trying to pass this off to be some fact. Rapists care nothing for taboos or laws, if they did they would be rapists. Lifting a taboo would not cause rapists. It is absurd that you have that line of reasoning. If it is true then I am a rapist. I am not even sure why I should be responding to your nonsense.

Let us look at the situation very attentively. If we start from the point that we are animals and our happiness is the "happiness" of an animal, than I cannot see why I am wrong. Animal does not know anyone besides itself, if animals unite, they unite for the sake of their own "egoistic" good, because for them being apart is worse than being together in this particular situation, so they choose the lesser evil. In our case people (if we understand them as animals) for the sake of mere surviving had to sacrifice sexual instinct, taboo that. But its nature remains and manifests itself sometimes in rape or in hiring prostitutes, or in watching pornography. It remains egoistic. Violence is the manifestation of egoism. I think the link here is quite obvious.
Now what happens when we lift taboo? What prevents an individual (if it is an animal) from becoming rapist? The only thing that remains is the fear of punishment. In this case, if one knows that he won't be punished, he will easily go and take what he wants, which cannot be accepted by society, therefore it will keep on upholding that taboo.
I don't know what prevents thee from becoming a rapist. Maybe another taboo, the taboo of the rights of others, or the taboo of mutual agreement for sex...
See, this weapon "taboo" may easily turn against those who use it...
 
ArthBH
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 05:45 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;126125 wrote:

I think you all are looking at the problem from the ego point. You are not quite interested in what other person may feel. You find porn as a way to become more informated about sex etc., which is the same as to kill an animal for the sake of tasting meat.


I think you really need to sort your ego out. I am also a realist. I realise, that everything anyone ever does is for their own benefit, just like killing an animal for it's meat. But at the same time, I do have respect for women. Perhaps this is something you do not have, and that is why you need it so reinforced. Life is not to be lived by caring about what people like you think, life is ultimately about being happy, and if pornography makes people happy, then what of it?
 
 

 
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