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Cahill - Why Derivatization Is Better Than Objectification.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL243H1
Professor
Ronniede Sousa
Semester
Winter

Description
- It isn’t always a sign of disrespect to treat a person as a thing, so objectification can’t be the reason why certain things are bad (336) - Objectification = treated as a thing instead of a person (336) - Objectification relies on the premise that the most essential elements of human beings are non-bodily and that people are essentially autonomous (337) - LeMoncheck says the moral wrong in objectification is the belief that women are inferior to men, so they don’t deserve the treatment required by moral equality (338) - LeMoncheck lists “distinctive human capacities” like sentience, self-awareness, rationality, self-determination, and reflective thought (338) - These capacities make self-respect and autonomy possible (338) - “Person” is a moral category whose members share these intellectual and cognitive capacities (338) - When these capacities are not respected, the person is being wronged (338) - Objectification then = when a person is treated like she lacks distinctive human capacities she does in fact have (338) - So one can treat a woman as sexually attractive without treating her as a sex object, by treating her as a sexually attractive moral equal (338) - Objectification mixes with eroticism itself where the degradation itself becomes erotic (the objectified woman becomes sexy by becoming less-than-man and becomes inferior because she’s sexy) and when the woman’s sexuality is employed to undermine her personhood (339) - This type of objectification limits a woman’s ability to freely express her sexual desires and experiences and then all sexuality becomes pornography (339) - But this paradigm constructs a dichotomy – either be sexual and therefore degraded or don’t be sexual and limit your personal expression (339) - Heterosexuality itself makes it difficult for women to be recognized as both moral equals and sexual beings (339) - But the link between degradation and sexuality is unnecessary (340) - Nussbaum says the moral error of objectification is in treating people who are not objects as if they were (340) - But this raises the question of how we treat objects and why is the way we treat objects problematic? (340) - Nussbaum identifies seven traits associated with objects that would be problematic if applied to people – instrumentality, lack of autonomy, inertness, fungibility, violability, ownership, and lack of subjectivity (340) - Lack of autonomy is the most salient point, and it functions as the most defining element of moral equality among persons (340) - It is impossible to see someone as an autonomous being and simultaneously as an instrument to one’s own ends (341) - Mutually pleasurable sexual encounters can involve loss of autonomy wherein individuals no longer experience themselves as such (341) - They can also involve instrumentality
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