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Is pornography morally wrong?

@voidabyss Cancer isnt exactly the same as being morally wrong. But feel free to elaborate why if you want to discuss it.

@freemo Smoking lead to cancer which lead to early death making smoking morally wrong.
Porn lead to sex addiction which lead to diminishing productivity and unhappy relationships making it the cancer of society.
webmd.com/mental-health/addict

@voidabyss

Porn lead to sex addiction which lead to diminishing productivity and unhappy relationships making it the cancer of society.

I am going to take this as an axiom and assume its correct for this discussion. Its not, its completely wrong im sure, but to save time lets just assume it is right for the sake of argument.

Smoking lead to cancer which lead to early death making smoking morally wrong.

Smoking isnt morally wrong, nor is early death. Why would something automatically be morally wrong simply because it results in a earlier death for you, thats your choice, its your life. It may be a bad decision, but that doesnt make it an immoral one.

@freemo

Why would something automatically be morally wrong simply because it results in a earlier death for you, thats your choice, its your life. It may be a bad decision, but that doesnt make it an immoral one.

If you assume that self-harm isn’t morally wrong then we agree to disagree.

@voidabyss

No im not assuming anything. You are the one claiming self-harm is wrong, I am notasserting it either way. You are the one who is obligated to explain why logically self-harm is immoral.

@freemo Wow, for me, it’s self-evident that self-harm is morally wrong, I just mention if we can’t agree that simple principle, then we agree to disagree.

@voidabyss We arent agreeing or disagreeing. If it is self-evident then it should be very easy to explain why its morally wrong. I’d be interesting to hear that argument.

@voidabyss To be clear i am not asking you to explain it because i disagree or am saying it is or isnt… I am asking because just because something feels true and obvious, doesnt mean it is. As humans we have instincts that tells us things are right because we had to evolve to think that simply because in the past it was needed for survival.

Humans can get obvious common sense thigns wrong all the time.

So even though it may “feel” obvious to you and me that self-harm is wrong, how can we actually check our own feelings to see if they are right or not?

@freemo
Someone engaging in self-harm is an indication of underlying emotional distress or mental health issue.
Morality stems from your belief system and your ability to feel compassion. If you don’t feel any compassion toward someone engaging in self-harm nor your belief system don’t condone it, that might be an indication of a psychopathic tendencies.

@voidabyss

Someone engaging in self-harm is an indication of underlying emotional distress or mental health issue.

This statement isnt true all the time. Obviously some people who engage in self-harm sure, that is true. But the vast majority of self-harm this isnt true.

When you eat a burger instead of a salad, that is harmful. Its self harm, we just accept it. You arent mentally ill for it.

When someone gets a tattoo, or more to the point, scarification work, it isnt due to a mental illness, its due to wanting a particular aesthetic.

So no this fundemental statement isnt automatically true. Is self harm only immoral when its due to underlying mental health or distress? Or is it always immoral?

Morality stems from your belief system

I mean this is true for literally everything you believe, the things you believe are part of your system of believing. I dont think this statement is adding anything. You still need to have reasoning for why you beleive a thing however if it is to have any merit as an idea.

…and your ability to feel compassion.

This feels like the closest we have gotten to an answer that seems to have some substance to it.

Would you agree with me to say compassion is basically saying you dont like to see people suffering, it makes you feel bad, and thus compassion compels us to try to prevent things that cause suffering?

If you don鈥檛 feel any compassion toward someone engaging in self-harm nor your belief system don鈥檛 condone it, that might be an indication of a psychopathic tendencies.

It might be, but whether im psychopathic or not im not sure is all that relevant tot he question of how to check if something is moral or not.

But as per the above, I hope we agree not all self harm is due to underlying suffering or mental illness. So even if i am quite compassionate I should only feel bad for people where self-harm is using in a way that causes them to suffer (or is due to them suffering) no?

@freemo

But as per the above, I hope we agree not all self harm is due to underlying suffering or mental illness.

I don’t agree with that assessment, nor the examples your mentioned as “self-harm”.

Here are some examples of self-harm and people engaging in those should seek help.

  • Self-harm: This refers to intentionally causing harm to oneself, such as cutting, burning, or hitting oneself.
  • Eating disorders: Conditions like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are considered self-deviant behaviors as they involve unhealthy relationships with food and body image.
  • Substance abuse: Engaging in excessive and harmful use of drugs or alcohol can be considered a form of self-deviance.
  • Compulsive gambling: When someone develops an uncontrollable urge to gamble, even to the point of causing financial and personal problems, it is considered a self-deviant behavior.
  • Addictive behaviors: This includes any behavior that becomes compulsive and interferes with daily life, such as excessive internet use, gaming addiction, or shopping addiction.

@voidabyss

I don鈥檛 agree with that assessment, nor the examples your mentioned as 鈥渟elf-harm鈥.

Ok sure lets go through it then.

Here are some examples of self-harm and people engaging in those should seek help.

We are trying to figure out the rules, so jumping to examples is great, but that doesnt help unless you can tell me the rules that determine if an example qualifies. In this case you are trying to define what self-harm is, but the examples dont get us there… even if i use them they contradict. for example….

Self-harm: This refers to intentionally causing harm to oneself, such as cutting, burning, or hitting oneself.

Ok so just this example alone agrees with most of my examples.

Eating extremely unhealthy food causes harm, I think thats pretty undeniable. Also when we eat extremely unhealthy food it is intentional. So it meets your two criteria for what is self harm in this example, being that it is harmful and intention to one’s self.

Same thing for my other examples, tattoos, scarification, literally everything i listed qualifies under your statement of what self harm is above.. yet you claim it isnt… why?

For me the examples you are giving feel alot more like “things that are not good to do” and a lot less like “things that are immoral to do”. Making bad decisions isnt the same as making immoral decisions.

@freemo

I hope we agree not all self harm is due to underlying suffering or mental illness.

The is a category of self-harm that might not be due to underlying suffering or mental illness, which is Self-sacrifice, it involves enduring hardship and putting the needs and welfare of others before one’s own, like voluntary soldiers, doctors, ems, nurses, etc. Self-sacrifice is often motivated by compassion, love, and a sense of duty towards others.

@voidabyss

The is a category of self-harm that might not be due to underlying suffering or mental illness, which is Self-sacrifice, it involves enduring hardship and putting the needs and welfare of others before one鈥檚 own, like voluntary soldiers, doctors, ems, nurses, etc. Self-sacrifice is often motivated by compassion, love, and a sense of duty towards others.

Sure that exists too… but are you saying those are the only two?

What about things that harm ones self, but is not due to any underlying unhealthy mental state, and also doesnt benefit anyone else.

A tattoo or scarification is an example I would think you would agree with. I would hope you agree that these are not (usually) due to mental illness, they also dont benefit others, and do in fact cause harm to ones self. So how do we handle that in your model? Its clearly self-harm, but in your model its an exception somehow? why?

@freemo

A tattoo or scarification is an example I would think you would agree with. I would hope you agree that these are not (usually) due to mental illness, they also dont benefit others, and do in fact cause harm to ones self. So how do we handle that in your model? Its clearly self-harm, but in your model its an exception somehow? why?

As I mentioned before, it’s not only mental illness, It might be an emotional distress, underlying suffering or a coping mechanism, etc. The result is a net negative for the individual and society.

phys.org/news/2017-09-nanopart

@voidabyss

As I mentioned before, it鈥檚 not only mental illness, It might be an emotional distress, underlying suffering or a coping mechanism, etc.

Sure yea I can go with that.. im just trying to understand.

Are you suggesting that all people who get tattoos have some underlying emotional distress or suffering, and therefore is self harm? Or are you saying that they dont, and it is only self harm if it harms the self and is out of mental illness or distress. Harming ones self not out of mental illness or distress is not self-harm? or it is?

The result is a net negative for the individual and society.

Did you really mean “and” here, or did you maybe mean “or”?

A tattoo causes a net negative for the individual but it iis very small. There is some risk of infection or complications, as well as damage to the skin. So the net harm for the individual while small is non-zero.

So if the criteria here is an “or”, then tattoo would qualify as self-harm no? Or perhaps you really did mean and, in which case we would agree by those criteria it is not self harm as only one of the two conditions is met.

That said if you did mean and, that would mean self harm that doesnt effect society, even out of mental illness by these criteria is perfectly ok. This would suggest that if someone is disliked by more people than they are liked they can commit suicide and that is perfectly ok because it harms the self but not society.

@freemo

Are you suggesting that all people who get tattoos have some underlying emotional distress or suffering, and therefore is self harm?

No, many do that for those reasons, some people just copy what others do.(Herd mentality)
What determine self-harm is the net negative outcome on the individual and society unless it鈥檚 self-sacrifice.

The rule here is if it bad for the individual, it鈥檚 bad for society unless self-sacrifice.

Self-sacrifice might be perceived as bad for the individual but it鈥檚 a net positive for society.

@voidabyss Ok so i think i may understand your rule system now, let me recap and you can tell me if its accurate:

What determine self-harm is the net negative outcome on the individual and society unless it鈥檚 self-sacrifice.

The rule here is if it bad for the individual, it鈥檚 bad for society unless self-sacrifice.

Ok so self-harm, when a sacrafice for others, is morally ok.

self-harm that is not a sacrafice for others is always wrong.

Does mental illness and distress form a requirement here at all, or is that just an explanation, that self harm will always coincide with mental health issues and it isnt the mental health issues that make it immoral but rather they are a symptom that is always linked to self harm?

Self-sacrifice might be perceived as bad for the individual but it鈥檚 a net positive for society.

This part I get and am fine with.

Assuming my above interpritation is correct im still a bit confused. You said tattoos and scarification was not considered immoral. Yet it does objectively produce self harm (however small) some it still appears to be at odds with your wsystem since you said it is moral yet your “rules” would suggest it isnt.

Am I mixing something up?

@freemo

You said tattoos and scarification was not considered immoral

Where did I mentioned that? It is self-harm therefore it’s immoral, I posted research study that mentioned the harm of tattooing on the immune system.
phys.org/news/2017-09-nanopart

The scientists report strong evidence for both migration and long-term deposition of toxic elements and tattoo pigments, as well as for conformational alterations of biomolecules that are sometimes linked to cutaneous inflammation and other adversities upon tattooing.

@voidabyss

Where did I mentioned that?

Either I misread or you misspoke.. either way not important since you clarified.

It is self-harm therefore it鈥檚 immoral, I posted research study that mentioned the harm of tattooing on the immune system.

Ok so i think i got your system down then… so this leaves me thining there are tons of examples that would be immoral by your example, but seems rather absurd (and i mentioned some.

  • Tattoos and scarification - We covered this

  • It is immortal every single time you eat anything unhealth.. a life of anything less than salads and exercise every day is immoral.

  • Even little things like staying up late one night makes you an immoral person

@freemo Depends in part on how one distinguishes between "mature content", "erotica", and "pornography".

Conservatives are out there crying for bans on sex ed books and anatomy books that they consider "porn" just for correctly illustrating and naming body parts, while handwaving away Genesis 19, Genesis 38, Ezekiel 23, the entirety of the Song of Solomon, and so on.

@bii I am using porn in the normal way here... Lets just say the majority of normal stuff youd find on pornhub... Or to put it another way... naked people engaging in sexual activity with the explicit intent to arouse the viewer and includes penetration and full nudity in graphic detail for that purpose.

@freemo Indeed, and maybe my initial example, in its own un-nuanced extremity, wasn't the best to illustrate my thought, which is that "mature content" is an objective term, while a distinction between "erotica" and "pornography" feels more subjective to me.

I get your definition, and shall run with it.

@bii I mean i agree with your definition. erotica is "lighter" than porn sure.

@freemo @bii

Philosophically, I would argue that unchecked libertarianism, which permits "two consenting adults" to do anything they want (so long as consent was obtained) and allows individuals to act in whatever way they want without imposing moral imperatives unless they harm another person, is not a good system to achieve widespread eudaimonia. Instead, it ultimately results in most individuals being slaves to their desires.

Without a defined set of boundaries on "sin" (i.e. what is morally wrong), societies ultimately end up expanding liberties into those boundaries to the point that ostensible self-harm becomes the norm (see the obesity epidemic for an alternative example; note I'm saying this as a current fat guy).

Gluttony "used to be" a sin for a multitude of reasons, and we are now acutely aware of all the negative impacts on the body and mind that over consumption has, and yet the issue persists (please note that I am not claiming those with real biological issues are necessarily at fault, but most obese individuals are not biologically impaired beyond their control).

The question we must then posit is thus: does consuming explicit sexual material (or producing it) have similar harmful effects on the body and/or mind? The answer to this is yes, both on an individual and societal level. Individually, many men report early-onset erectile dysfunction, inability to achieve orgasm with real partners, and diminished appetite for actual partners but increased appetite for the illicit substitute. Enough of these individuals in a population, may have untold impacts on the culture itself (e.g. japanese herbivore men and their plummeting birthrate).

Thus, if consumption of the product is harmful, then production of it is also harmful (both for society but also the "stars", you can see loads of examples of this in the industry with predatory contracts, grooming of under-age women to take jobs upon turning 18, trafficking, kidnapping, spread of STIs, etc.). There may be a case for "responsible use" or "free-range production" but substances that are targeted as super-normal stimuli are highly addictive and blunt our responses to "realistic" stimuli, thus making the super-normal stimulus more desirable (an effect mentioned above). Of course, there's also the hedonic treadmill effect which causes people to seek ever increasingly stimulating material (that is, their tastes may change over time to desire material that is more explicit than they started on).

Of course, this is all the worst case, but the existence of this case and its prevalence, I think, speaks volumes.

That's my 2 cents, take it for what you think it's worth.

P.S. I have citations for the claims I've made but I'm at work and can't look them up right now. If you want me to link them in a followup toot, lemme know.

@johnabs

So the main purpose of morality is to encourage behaviors that make society the most fit society possible? (fit as in having the ability to thrive)

@bii

@freemo @bii

Not my point or what I believe (I'm a divine command theorist lmao), but from a secular perspective, I think that's one of the strongest possible arguments for it.

Additionally, it does not mean that society itself is thriving (such a definition of morality would permit rape/pillage for the benefit of MY society over yours, not the cosmopolitan ideal of humanity as a whole), but that each individual has sufficient resources and the ability to control themselves in such a manner that maximizes their ability to self-realize.

Lack of self control is arguably the root of all moral failings; hence, the ability to control oneself in each tempting moment to favor long term chances of self-actualization is the best secular definition of acting morally I can think of.

@johnabs @freemo @bii

I really like your take on this subject, it's well written out and to the point.

@voidabyss @freemo @bii Thanks! I appreciate the positive feedback 馃榿

@freemo One way I've heard them distinguished is that "erotica" is art that happens to deal substantively with sexually stimulating subject matter (such as to honor physical intimacy, to rejoice in the human form, to celebrate sexual bliss), while "porn" is commercial, transactional, graphic content, created *solely* for the goal of satisfying its consumers' lustful needs through objectification.

@freemo no, consuming and participating in it (consenting adults only) is not wrong according to my moral framework. That said I'm pretty sure there is a lot of exploitation in the porn industry, so I wouldn't give the whole operation a pass.

@strawd I think we would agree exploitation in porn is morally wrong, porn itself is not.

As a general rule only time I'd say its morally questionable is if 1) you spend money on it and 2) you know the porn you bought involved exploitation when you bought it.

@freemo

Here's a MetaFilter discussion thread of possible relevance from my browser bookmarks, about exploitation and other factors (objectification, ownership of the means of production, and so on) relating to porn.

ask.metafilter.com/24269/

@bii Thanks for sharing your perspective. I probably wont get to read it till tomorrow.

@freemo Oh no worries, and for transparency, I didn't contribute to that linked discussion; it's just a thing I saved to mull over later, back when I was a more avid MetaFilter reader, and it ended up informing my opinion.

@freemo

I'd really rather the fine folks beating the drum about the "evils" of porn would avoid confusing the problems with the Bible as problems with porn.

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