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On obscenity: the thrill and repulsion of the morally prohibited

By M. Kieran


The paper proceeds by criticising the central accounts of obscenity proffered by Feinberg, Scruton and the suggestive remarks of Nussbaum and goes on to argue for the following formal characterization of obscenity: x is appropriately judged obscene if and only if either A/ x is appropriately classified as a member of a form or class of objects whose authorized purpose is to solicit and commend to us cognitive-affective responses which are (1) internalized as morally prohibited and (2) does so in ways found to be or which are held to warrant repulsion and (3) does so in order to a/ indulge first order desires held to be morally prohibited or b/ indulge the desire to be morally transgressive or the desire to feel repulsed or c/ afford cognitive rewards or d/ any combination thereof or B/ x successfully elicits cognitive-affective responses which conform to conditions (1)-(3)

Publisher: International Phenomenological Society
Year: 2002
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