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Beyond SpeechPornography and Analytic Feminist Philosophy$
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Mari Mikkola

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190257910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190257910.001.0001

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Is Pornography Like The Law?

Is Pornography Like The Law?

(p.23) Chapter 2 Is Pornography Like The Law?
Beyond Speech

Rae Langton

Oxford University Press

Pornography is like oppressive law, according to a feminist critique. The analogy is partial, but defensible to a significant degree. Pornography can subordinate, set norms, and silence, because it has authority. Its authority is relative—to a domain (sex), a jurisdiction (certain people), and a contrast class (compared to other authorities). This hypothesis is supported by evidence from a 2013 U.K. Children’s Commissioner’s Report on young people’s views. Unlike law, pornography has epistemic authority as well as practical authority. And it can emerge informally, in a context-sensitive way, given the attitudes of its consumers and of bystanders, including the state.

Keywords:   pornography, law, authority, epistemic authority, practical authority, norms, subordinate, silence

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