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Old 08-15-2012, 05:30 PM   #73
QuantumIguana
Philosopher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
Ultimately, that doesn't bear on what I was even claiming. I wasn't claiming that reading erotic literature made a person commit a sex crime. I claimed that consuming pornography affects a person and I believe that effect to be negative.
Where's the evidence for this negative effect? If there's no evidence for this effect, is there really an effect?

Quote:
Do you think that reading a book like "To Kill a Mockingbird" could affect a person's views on racism?
Only if people were inclined to have their opinions changed. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" didn't make people change their minds regarding slavery, it presented a perspective to people, and hardcore racists and believers in slavery weren't swayed. Those who were basically decent people but misinformed about the reality of slavery were influenced. Words only have the power that the reader gives them.

Quote:
If you do, then do you not also think that reading "Letters to Penthouse" could affect a person's views on sexual activity? I'm not saying it would make a person go out and start raping their neighbors, I'm saying that it would affect them, and I believe it would affect them negatively. Specifically, I believe it would cause them to begin viewing others as means to their own sexual ends. It would cause them to begin dehumanizing other people in the way that they thought about those people. Naturally, if you stop thinking of other people as human beings and start thinking of them as objects meant for your sexual gratification, it will affect the way you interact with them sexually.
People had sexual fantasies long before Penthouse letters came along. How were their minds changed by reading written fantasies? The idea that you could have sex with someone is an idea that no one has to implant in you. Does anyone pick up Penthouse letters and think "What? I could have sex with someone? That never occurred to me?" A book like "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "Uncle Tom's Cabin" present people with perspectives they didn't have before. Written erotica just presents them with fantasies they already had. People already want to have sex, erotica doesn't create the desire to have sex.

But what is dehumanizing about sex? I "use" my baker as a means to get my bread, is that dehumanizing? If someone reads some written erotica and says "That looks like fun! Maybe I can find someone who would like to do that too," what is dehumanizing about that? Throughout history, people have been persecuted, imprisoned or killed because their sex life didn't meet someone else's standards. That judgment seems pretty dehumanizing.


Quote:
I might be misreading you again, but it seems like you're having it both ways in this paragraph. You seek to include "all of history" but seek to exclude historical, non-literary forms of erotica (like cave paintings, paintings, sculptures, dances, performances, oral storytelling, etc). This is not a fair way to evaluate the impact of pornography through history, as it eliminates the majority of pornographic content from the discussion.
Cave paintings aren't normally normally considered relevant to such discussions, but I will concede it. The point is that there was time when written erotica was virtually all the erotica there was. I you couldn't read, your access to erotica was limited. If a group has limited access to erotica, then the alleged negative affects would be limited. Thus, we would see these effects in the group that had greater access to erotica, that is, those who can read. If we don't see evidence of negative effects, we have no reason to believe that the negative effect exists.

Last edited by QuantumIguana; 08-15-2012 at 06:19 PM.
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