Pornography: Application of Ethical Theories and Perspectives Ursurla Waller
Dr. Craig Allen, Instructor
2014 September, 21
In this report, the ethical theories and perspectives of Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Ethical Egoism, described, compared, and applied to the topic of Pornography, attempt to analyze the morality this issue. It attempts to identify what the ethical issues of pornography are, and if there are there breaches of ethical behavior. While applying the ethical theories to analyze this debatable topic, it should help us think about what would constitute virtuous or ethical behavior. The ideology of popular proponents of each theory and perspective, such as Immanuel Kant, J. S. Mill, and James Racheals, discussed in-depth, attempt to explain the rationale behind people’s actions especially when distinguishing what is right or wrong regarding the ethical debate of pornography. Information for this report, courtesy of prominent scholar sources, includes Carroll, J.S. (2008) of Journal of Adolescent Research, Feldman, F. (2003) of International Journal for Philosophy, as well as the author of “Consider Ethics,” Waller, B.N. (2005). Keywords: Ethics, Application of Ethics, Pornography, Utilitarianism, Deontology, Ethical Egoism, Kant, Mill, Racheals, Pornography: Application of Ethical Theories and Perspectives It is imperative to understand the theories and perspectives in order to explore the morality or immorality of pornography. Theories that touch on ethics include utilitarianism, deontology as well as ethical egoism just to mention but a few. Ethical theories attempt to explain the rationale behind people’s actions especially when distinguishing what is right or wrong. Analyzed from the perspective of ethics, Pornography, considered the one of the oldest professions, prostitution and other acts of pornography, is an art form that ancient civilizations drew on walls, therefore, considered moral. Specifically, this paper will dwell on the analysis of the issue of pornography from the ethical theories and perspectives as opposed to analyzing the effect. In addition, the paper will primarily analyze Pornography using deontological, utilitarian and ethical egoism as the primary ethical perspectives and theories. Deontology and Pornography
According to the proponents of the theory, human actions should follow certain specific rules that provide an individual with the guidelines (Waller, 2005). The rules are synonymous to moral duty. In other words, the ethical theory proposes, "the actions of an individual are more important than the consequences." This ideology is in line with the perspective that human actions should always be in line with the moral duties bestowed by the society (Waller, 2005). One of the greatest proponents of the theory, Immanuel Kant, articulates that human beings must follow set out moral duty. To expand, the motives of taking certain action is far more important than the consequences (Waller, 2005). Kantian theory also articulates that all actions that people perceive to be good should meet certain threshold. In particular, the theory says that any action must be intrinsically good and should not need qualification of being good (Waller, 2005). The only thing that is good and meets this threshold is good will. As such, deontology as perceived by Kant should "not focus on the consequences of an action but rather, it should focus on the good will" (Betrayal, n.d.). For instance, an action may have negative consequences yet the motive of the action is noble and vice versa. In the case of pornography, deontologists would argue that the actions do not meet the moral threshold spelt out in the moral duty or implicit rules that guide the morality of human actions (Waller, 2005). According to the divine command of duty, a central aspect of the source of moral duty, human beings ought not to engage in immoral actions that are contrary to the social...
References: Carroll, J.S. (2008). Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use among Emerging Adults. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23(1), 6-30.
Betrayal – Vice or Virtue? An Ethical Perspective on ... (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/2007/v52/n2/016071ar.html
Family Safe Media. (2006). Pornography Statistics. Available at: http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html Retrieved on: 2014-22-09
Feldman, F. (2003). On the Consistency of Act- and Motive-Utilitarianism. International Journal for Philosophy, 70 (2), 56-78.
Mosser, K. (2013). Ethics and Social Responsibility. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Inc.
Rachels, J. (2008). Ethical Egoism. California: Thomson Wadsworth.
Waller, B.N. (2005). Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Pearson Longman
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