Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
User avatar
Gremory
New Trial Member
Posts: 3
Joined: August 29th, 2015, 2:15 am

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Gremory » August 29th, 2015, 2:57 am

This is a difficult question. We do not have any sentence qualified as definite description of art. It is easier to see pornography as a comodity that gives you a lot of money. Indeed, you can get very much money from building a pornography website. We should take into account what makes pornography so interesting that the demands for it is always very high. In my opinion, what is the main interest in pornography is that it stimulates your desire to reproduce. At this point, pornography tells us something, that it is beautiful.

Plato, in Symposium, tells us that the desire to reproduce is what love wants from beauty. But desire to reproduce from particular beautiful body is not good enough to be followed, because a child born from particular beautiful body is going to be deceased one day. We must seek some beautiful soul, so that the child born from it is not vulnerable to death. In the end, Plato tells us to rise from beautiful souls to the beauty in itself which will take us to the true knowledge of beauty.

But there is another point. Kant said beauty presents us with ourself in our morally determined existence. What makes someone judge something as beautiful is someone's good moral judgment, that it fits your cognitive faculty. So, if you see pornography as beautiful, what you see in it is not another person but yourself. That experience, in my opinion, is an experience of art.

User avatar
Whitedragon
Moderator
Posts: 927
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Whitedragon » August 31st, 2015, 12:45 pm

There are many complications that come with prostitution and pornography. Sometimes people get financially and psychologically into trouble; with prostitution people also are exposed to diseases. Is pornography art, maybe it is, but then if I mix blood into mortar and create a work of art does that art justify the deaths that made it so ? Porn and prostitution is a threat to society.

The other concern is that porn and prostitution is overly express in the way it generates money. There are a few things in society which is like this, but I think none of them hold a candle to porn and prostitution. Therefore these have the ability to affect the economy in negative ways and, I think, can even be used in financial and political power struggles. Therefore it’s very detrimental to use sex as a means of making money; it is like making money off the hair you grow. Most people have the ability to grow hair, and if it were a priced commodity those who had “good hair” could make money naturally without having to spend time and effort on attaining a skill. Yet sex is much more express and there in is where the danger lies. Lastly porn and prostitution has the potential to be very destructive; thus a lot of money is made from something which is often harmful and thus useless. Those who make money without the need for building a skill often aid to harming the world rather than producing something useful. Thus they obtain money or in other words the ability to move the resources of the planet, (our resources), to their hearts desire and all we get from it is to revel for a bit.

-- Updated August 31st, 2015, 11:45 am to add the following --

There are many complications that come with prostitution and pornography. Sometimes people get financially and psychologically into trouble; with prostitution people also are exposed to diseases. Is pornography art, maybe it is, but then if I mix blood into mortar and create a work of art does that art justify the deaths that made it so ? Porn and prostitution is a threat to society.

The other concern is that porn and prostitution is overly express in the way it generates money. There are a few things in society which is like this, but I think none of them hold a candle to porn and prostitution. Therefore these have the ability to affect the economy in negative ways and, I think, can even be used in financial and political power struggles. Therefore it’s very detrimental to use sex as a means of making money; it is like making money off the hair you grow. Most people have the ability to grow hair, and if it were a priced commodity those who had “good hair” could make money naturally without having to spend time and effort on attaining a skill. Yet sex is much more express and there in is where the danger lies. Lastly porn and prostitution has the potential to be very destructive; thus a lot of money is made from something which is often harmful and thus useless. Those who make money without the need for building a skill often aid to harming the world rather than producing something useful. Thus they obtain money or in other words the ability to move the resources of the planet, (our resources), to their hearts desire and all we get from it is to revel for a bit.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2789
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by LuckyR » September 4th, 2015, 10:34 pm

Whitedragon wrote:There are many complications that come with prostitution and pornography. Sometimes people get financially and psychologically into trouble; with prostitution people also are exposed to diseases. Is pornography art, maybe it is, but then if I mix blood into mortar and create a work of art does that art justify the deaths that made it so ? Porn and prostitution is a threat to society.

The other concern is that porn and prostitution is overly express in the way it generates money. There are a few things in society which is like this, but I think none of them hold a candle to porn and prostitution. Therefore these have the ability to affect the economy in negative ways and, I think, can even be used in financial and political power struggles. Therefore it’s very detrimental to use sex as a means of making money; it is like making money off the hair you grow. Most people have the ability to grow hair, and if it were a priced commodity those who had “good hair” could make money naturally without having to spend time and effort on attaining a skill. Yet sex is much more express and there in is where the danger lies. Lastly porn and prostitution has the potential to be very destructive; thus a lot of money is made from something which is often harmful and thus useless. Those who make money without the need for building a skill often aid to harming the world rather than producing something useful. Thus they obtain money or in other words the ability to move the resources of the planet, (our resources), to their hearts desire and all we get from it is to revel for a bit.
Serioiusly? What are your thoughts on video games? How about paintball? Cigarettes? Alcohol? Dungeons and Dragons?

If someone, somewhere can "get into... trouble" doing something, then it is inherantly "a threat to society"? I am not seeing a huge benefit to society in having Big Brother enforce their Nannystate rules governing the behavioral interactions between consenting adults.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Lagayscienza
Posts: 675
Joined: February 8th, 2015, 3:27 am
Favorite Philosopher: Neitszche
Location: Antipodes

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Lagayscienza » September 5th, 2015, 12:21 am

If "Porn and prostitution is [sic] a threat to society" then how is it they have always been with us and yet society has survived?

I can't see that erotica and prostitution, as long as only consenting adults are involved, is anyone else's business.

You say that they are harmful because they are just unproductive and therefore useless activities. However, if this is going to be the criterion for allowing and disallowing certain activities then perhaps we should also ban art, music, dancing, literature... There are heaps of things that humans do that that may not "produce something useful" but which we value for other non-utilitarian reasons.

Trying to legislatively control peoples sex lives is the thin edge of the wedge. Leave consenting adults alone to pursue activities they enjoy as long as they do not harm others. It's no one else's business.
La gaya Scienza

User avatar
Whitedragon
Moderator
Posts: 927
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Whitedragon » September 8th, 2015, 3:02 am

LuckyR said: “Serioiusly? What are your thoughts on video games? How about paintball? Cigarettes? Alcohol? Dungeons and Dragons?

If someone, somewhere can "get into... trouble" doing something, then it is inherantly "a threat to society"? I am not seeing a huge benefit to society in having Big Brother enforce their Nannystate rules governing the behavioral interactions between consenting adults.”

No. I think the concept of consenting adults is not the issue here, which was also not my main emphasis in my previous post.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » September 8th, 2015, 3:25 am

It's not because someone somewhere can get into trouble, it's because kids are learning from porn that sexual partners are commodities. Learning this attitude is very much worse than "getting into trouble".

The attitude that a girl is not an empowered person reflects a wider attitude in modern capitalist societies that people are no more than labourers and consumers.

The serious objection to porn is not that it is sexually explicit. The objection is it's okay that others be regarded as commodities .
Socialist

User avatar
Lagayscienza
Posts: 675
Joined: February 8th, 2015, 3:27 am
Favorite Philosopher: Neitszche
Location: Antipodes

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Lagayscienza » September 8th, 2015, 4:52 am

Belinda, I agree with what you say about depicting people as sexual commodities and I think there is a danger of kids absorbing this idea if exposed to porn and for that reason it should be restricted to adults. I have no problem with non-violent erotica for adults providing the performers are willing adults and in no way coerced.
La gaya Scienza

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » September 8th, 2015, 3:27 pm

Lagaya, I am the same.
Socialist

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2789
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by LuckyR » September 9th, 2015, 7:56 pm

I don't disagree that there are potential risks from pornography in particular. Thus why I compared it in my post to violence in media, alcohol and tobacco, all of which also have potential risks. It is customary NOT to criminalize things that have a mix of potential benefit and risk. They can be restricted, like all of the above but it would be unusual to make them illegal.

Perhaps I am reading more into folks' wording than they mean. For example, when "threat to society" is the phrase, I subconsciously add: "therefore I am against it and it should be illegal", since many say that. Perhaps posters mean: "thus and so is a threat to society... therefore I am against it and won't make use of it personally, but if others want to, that's OK, I hope they watch out for the risks". I agree with that.
"As usual... it depends."

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » September 10th, 2015, 9:18 am

LuckyR wrote:
I don't disagree that there are potential risks from pornography in particular. Thus why I compared it in my post to violence in media, alcohol and tobacco, all of which also have potential risks. It is customary NOT to criminalize things that have a mix of potential benefit and risk. They can be restricted, like all of the above but it would be unusual to make them illegal.
Adapting a social criticism to a change on the law is difficult. Persuading people not to smoke and legislating against it as much as possible was easy compared with possible legislation against porn. The former was about physical health only. Stopping porn is about social, psychological, and cultural health. Porn qua porn implies that people are nothing but commodities . Erotica simply implies "Look how exciting to see and hear people doing sex in interesting ways."

Porn, which is a commercial adaptation of erotica's commercial potential, shows people doing sex as if they were nothing but beautiful and athletic sex stars. But many people believe that sex is really like this__________ that if you are not a beautiful and athletic sex star there is something wrong with the essential free person that you are.

True, many professions and even trades demand that the people act certain roles as if they are at heart what they seem to be . However few people believe that the electrician behaves as an electrician and not as a full human being when he stops work for the day. Porn implies the lie that people are actually like that all the time, and not just for the duration of the sex acts or the video performance.

It would be good if schools could arm kids against porn's insidious attack on their personal freedom . I don't know how teachers can do it bearing in mind that sex is so much more fascinating than most other human activities, activities that real people do such as mending the electrics. It's difficult for me, an educated, old, and experienced adult to explain porn's insidious lies to other adults online. How can kids be protected other than by banning porn, by law?
Socialist

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2789
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by LuckyR » September 11th, 2015, 3:01 pm

Belinda wrote:LuckyR wrote:
I don't disagree that there are potential risks from pornography in particular. Thus why I compared it in my post to violence in media, alcohol and tobacco, all of which also have potential risks. It is customary NOT to criminalize things that have a mix of potential benefit and risk. They can be restricted, like all of the above but it would be unusual to make them illegal.
Adapting a social criticism to a change on the law is difficult. Persuading people not to smoke and legislating against it as much as possible was easy compared with possible legislation against porn. The former was about physical health only. Stopping porn is about social, psychological, and cultural health. Porn qua porn implies that people are nothing but commodities . Erotica simply implies "Look how exciting to see and hear people doing sex in interesting ways."

Porn, which is a commercial adaptation of erotica's commercial potential, shows people doing sex as if they were nothing but beautiful and athletic sex stars. But many people believe that sex is really like this__________ that if you are not a beautiful and athletic sex star there is something wrong with the essential free person that you are.

True, many professions and even trades demand that the people act certain roles as if they are at heart what they seem to be . However few people believe that the electrician behaves as an electrician and not as a full human being when he stops work for the day. Porn implies the lie that people are actually like that all the time, and not just for the duration of the sex acts or the video performance.

It would be good if schools could arm kids against porn's insidious attack on their personal freedom . I don't know how teachers can do it bearing in mind that sex is so much more fascinating than most other human activities, activities that real people do such as mending the electrics. It's difficult for me, an educated, old, and experienced adult to explain porn's insidious lies to other adults online. How can kids be protected other than by banning porn, by law?
Don't sell yourself short, IMO you are making a very insightful and clear appeal for your argument in this format.

The solution to the problem you raise seems to be up ahead, just around the corner. If you look where porn has been and where it is now, it seems there is a likely future that looks brighter than today.

Porn used to be uncommon, difficult to acquire anonymously, associated with the most scurrilous segment of society and though enticing to minors, was much less available to them, likely driving a lot of that same enticement.

Currently porn is ubiquitous, not all that enticing and can be associated with elements of mainstream society. I am sure that minors are drawn to it. but likely there is no drive from it's being "forbidden".

If this trend continues it is likely to become yet another media option in the future and despite the ridiculous American (I know you you are in the UK) prudishness, will likely become a topic that many will feel comfortable discussing with their kids, thus separating the presentation from the reality in children's eyes, not dissimilar to your electrician comment. At that point the concern you bring up will dissolve not unlike the old "video games cause mass shootings" concern from 10 years ago.

Clearly moving backwards to a prohibition stance would do for porn and minors what Prohibition did for beer drinkers, that is turn them into whiskey/gin drinkers.
"As usual... it depends."

Supine
Posts: 1013
Joined: November 27th, 2012, 2:11 am

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Supine » September 21st, 2015, 5:46 pm

Belinda wrote: Porn, which is a commercial adaptation of erotica's commercial potential, shows people doing sex as if they were nothing but beautiful and athletic sex stars. But many people believe that sex is really like this__________ that if you are not a beautiful and athletic sex star there is something wrong with the essential free person that you are.
The blue bold highlight mine. So, what is wrong with people believing that sexual activity is x, y, z in alignment with pornographic depiction?

If you were to look at the traditional Catholic concept of how sexual intercourse should be--which includes a militant equality between the man and woman--then almost all sex most people engage is pornographic.

Gay porn for instance just gives people into gay sexual fantasies what they want to indulge in as customers.

There's so many different genres of porn too. Genres of female dominatrix sodomizing men etc.

It would be good if schools could arm kids against porn's insidious attack on their personal freedom . I don't know how teachers can do it bearing in mind that sex is so much more fascinating than most other human activities, activities that real people do such as mending the electrics. It's difficult for me, an educated, old, and experienced adult to explain porn's insidious lies to other adults online. How can kids be protected other than by banning porn, by law?
You want to ban homosexual people from watching gay porn? Do you want to ban the debauched gay parades with lesbians walking naked submissive lesbians down public streets bare naked on leashes?

I think people will buy what they want even if it is consumed in discretion and purchased in underground economies.

I do think porn is vice. Probably. But there are a lot of vices in the world. I'm not sure banning porn is the answer. Some porn lovers might even call it art. Theatrical art.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » September 22nd, 2015, 4:55 am

Supine wrote:
So, what is wrong with people believing that sexual activity is x, y, z in alignment with pornographic depiction?

If you were to look at the traditional Catholic concept of how sexual intercourse should be--which includes a militant equality between the man and woman--then almost all sex most people engage is pornographic.

Gay porn for instance just gives people into gay sexual fantasies what they want to indulge in as customers.

There's so many different genres of porn too. Genres of female dominatrix sodomizing men etc.
I fear that you have not understood my previous posts.

Certainly women power should equal men power in sexual encounters as in all other relations where power is a factor.

I disapprove of sodomy because rectums can be badly wounded and disabled by insertion of large foreign bodies.
Socialist

Supine
Posts: 1013
Joined: November 27th, 2012, 2:11 am

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Supine » September 22nd, 2015, 5:49 pm

Belinda wrote:Supine wrote:
So, what is wrong with people believing that sexual activity is x, y, z in alignment with pornographic depiction?

If you were to look at the traditional Catholic concept of how sexual intercourse should be--which includes a militant equality between the man and woman--then almost all sex most people engage is pornographic.

Gay porn for instance just gives people into gay sexual fantasies what they want to indulge in as customers.

There's so many different genres of porn too. Genres of female dominatrix sodomizing men etc.
I fear that you have not understood my previous posts.

Certainly women power should equal men power in sexual encounters as in all other relations where power is a factor.

I disapprove of sodomy because rectums can be badly wounded and disabled by insertion of large foreign bodies.
I'm surprised by your last paragraph, so, maybe I misunderstood your posts.

I'm not sure I've fully concluded that the erotic roles of the dominate and submissive interacting are wrong, bad, not ideal or however one would phrase it. Traditional Christian teaching views it as not ideal and a consequence of Original Sin. But I admit I've not been fully persuaded by that Christian view point perhaps due to my own flaws which may color my perception.

Pornography steps into the realm of voyeurism though. And so it's dynamics are more than simply what a couple does in the privacy of their own quarters--be they assuming equal sexual roles or unequal roles.

I don't know that anything qualifies as art. That would really depend on the definition of art. But if one quality of art is to improve us either intellectually, spiritually, or in virtue then pornography would seem to do the reverse of that. Porn appealing to what we term base instincts. Porn placing the emphasis and value of the human character only on a sexual criteria and sexual quality and one not promoting pregnancy and family as a result or goal of sexual activity.

So, I guess if I have a criticism of porn that would be it or one of them.

Although, I won't say that viewing porn can't teach a person one or two or more things specifically related to sexual acts and certain sexual erotics.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » September 23rd, 2015, 4:16 am

Supine wrote:
Although, I won't say that viewing porn can't teach a person one or two or more things specifically related to sexual acts and certain sexual erotics.
Certainly! However the differential definition of pornography which I have suggested includes mainly that while pornography is erotica, all erotica is not pornography. My intention is that it's good to qualify content as pornographic if it lies about the human condition, often for commercial gain. Erotica is often true of the human condition.

The conditions for separating pornography from erotica then are like the conditions for separating the good from the bad in any other literary genre or artistic idiom. The need to evaluate erotica in this way is more urgent than most lit crit because of the natural fascination with erotica among children.
Socialist

Post Reply