The philosophy of porn | 3 Quarks Daily

John Maier in Prospect:

Sex and analytic philosophy are not promising bedfellows. But when it comes to feminist philosophy, it is no mere pun to say that sex is where the action is. The revival of this neglected feminist concern is principally owed to Amia Srinivasan, the 36-year-old star of Oxford philosophy and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College. Srinivasan began her career making influential contributions to formal epistemology and shot up the academic rungs; she has since found a public audience as a critic and essayist of remarkable precision and range. In her new essay collection, The Right to Sex, Srinivasan writes about consent, pornography and the ideological shaping of desire, attempting “to remake the political critique of sex for the 21st century.” Here, the political isn’t just personal; it’s intimate.

Readers may approach the book with misgivings. With what authority does academic philosophy address itself to the sexual imagination, fantasy and our intimate lives? There are other ways that philosophy can fail us besides being false; bad philosophy—like bad sex—can be formulaic and uninspired. When it comes to our ethical lives, philosophy wins authority not just by telling the truth about things, but by making sense of them. Philosophy, beyond being true, ought to ring true. Notoriously, when the heavy artillery of analytic philosophy—reduction, abstraction and theory-building—is turned on the landscape of moral and political life, the result is usually desolating.

More here. [Thanks to T. V.]




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