Abstract

Art or Porn? The popular media will often choose this heading when reviewing the latest sexually explicit novel, film, or art exhibition. The underlying assumption seems to be that the work under discussion has to be one or the other, and cannot be both. But is this not a false dilemma? Can one really draw a sharp dividing line between the two domains? I think not. I will argue that there is a middle ground between art and pornography and that this middle ground is occupied by numerous paintings, prints, photographs, films, novels and graphic novels. As such, I believe that the phrase 'pornographic art,' far from being an oxymoron, actually designates a legitimate artistic category. There is strong opposition to this view in the philosophy of art today. Both Jerrold Levinson and Christy Mag Uidhir have recently argued that pornography and art are mutually exclusive. So, my first task is to show that their arguments, though well-crafted and carefully formulated, ultimately fail.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 51-64
Launched on MUSE
2011-04-29
Open Access
No
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