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Pornographic Art

Kieran, M. (2001) Pornographic Art. Philosophy and Literature, 25 (1). pp. 31-45. ISSN 1086-329X

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"Pornographic art” is an oxymoron. At best, pornographic representations can only be bad art and, at worst, they cannot be art at all. This is the received view.1 But what underwrites such aesthetic contempt? There are three distinct lines of thought typically held to warrant the apparent truism. Purely definitional considerations are often cited as showing that pornography, as a matter of principle, cannot be artistically valuable. The purpose of sexual arousal is sometimes adduced as rendering the production of pornographic representations artistically indifferent. It is also suggested, albeit far less often, that though we may appreciate a work both as art and as pornography, we cannot do so at one and the same time, i.e. we cannot appreciate a work as pornographic art. I will show that not only is the received view without warrant but, moreover, there are works which are valuable as pornographic art.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2001 John Hopkins University Press. Reproduced with permission from the copyright holder.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > School of Philosophy (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science (Leeds) > School of Philosophy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Leeds Philosophy Department
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2007 13:30
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:05
Published Version: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/philosophy_and_litera...
Status: Published
Publisher: John Hopkins University Press
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3355

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