Pornography and Censorship

By David Copp; Susan Wendell | Go to book overview

PREFACE

Pornography may seem an odd topic for a book edited by two philosophers. The topic interests us because of the philosophical issues to which it is related, and because of the questions that have recently been raised about pornography, especially by the women's movement and the so-called "moral majority." However, the book is interdisciplinary, and the reader will find that it offers useful and important information as well as nontechnical philosophical discussions.

The purpose of this anthology is to facilitate rational and informed debate on the topic of pornography and censorship. The book is unusual in bringing together empirical studies by social scientists, conceptual studies by philosophers, and judicial essays. This reflects our conviction that wise decision making on public issues requires at least the elements of empirical knowledge, philosophical clarity, and an understanding of the difficulties of formulating principles that apply in acceptable ways to specific situations.

Pornography has long been thought to raise ethical or moral issues, and proposals to censor it raise obvious issues of social policy. These are the main issues addressed in the philosophical essays collected in Part One. The essays are by contemporary philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition, and the issues are approached from a number of theoretical points of view. It is worth mentioning, though, that the essays are secular; those whose thoughts on the morality of pornography are based on a theological posi-

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