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Scott Anderson Prostitution

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PHIL 102
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PHIL 102 – Mar 5 2014 Sex Trade is associated with much harm 1. Child prostitution 2. Abduction, slavery, emotional instability/manipulation, drug, addiction, etc. 3. Duress (Nussbaum): a last resort – many sex trade workers have no better alternative a. Joseph Raz’s “hounded woman” her actions are not free in all important ways b. They have options, but their best option is undesirable. c. Many people in the sex trade are in this situation None of these is a necessary consequence of “commercial recreational sex” Ethics: is CRS morally wrong per se? What’s special about sex that makes it wrong to sell? We’re taught this through culture. SCOTT ANDERSON: Prostitution The Debate: Among Feminists – 2 sides agree on a lot • Liberal – use existing laws and institutions are ok and they can be used to promote liberty and good ends (equality etc. • Radicals – the laws and institutions are bad and are sources for inequality and lack of freedom. The “radical” feminist position: but they want to use the existing laws and institutions 1. Prostitution is degrading to women 2. It’s because of gender hierarchy in our society a. In Utopia it’s not degrading because there is equality. b. There is still inequality in our society 3. Perpetuates a gender hierarchy in our society They think sex is a key instrument of inequality in our society. They believe the laws can help. They are actually liberals The “liberal” feminist position: PHIL 102 – Mar 5 2014 1. The sex trade takes diverse forms a. It’s not all the worse scenarios b. The radicals are pumping our emotions and we are thinking about the worst types of prostitution and not thinking of holistically 2. CRS is severable from its harms a. It is possible b. They recognize we live in a imperfect world – tends to mean prostitution is associated with certain harms c. Prostitution plays a role in inequality d. But it is important to make a distinction that it is not always the worst scenario e. People pushed into this trade are vulnerable – they are facing toughest choices i. Why are we making their lives worse? f. It is possible for a more benign CRS 3. Nussbaum: our moral beliefs about abortion are due to prejudice/stigma a. There is nothing special about sex that makes it wrong to sell b. It’s unpleasant and it’s emotionally and physically intimate, but so are other occupations. Making these laws infringe the lives of prostitutes Swiss: it’s not illegal – less violence and does not perpetuate gender hierarchy Sometimes legalizing doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Education? Cuba! Many educated women
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