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Barclay, Linda, , . Genetic Engineering and Autonomous Agency
2003, Journal of applied philosophy 20(3): 223–236.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper I argue that the genetic manipulation of sexual orientation at the embryo stage could have a detrimental effect on the subsequent person’s later capacity for autonomous agency. By focussing on an example of sexist oppression I show that the norms and expectations expressed with this type of genetic manipulation can threaten the development of autonomous agency and the kind of social environment that makes its exercise likely.

Comment: Useful mainly in the context of (the limitations of) reproductive rights and as a further reading on the ethics of genetic engineering and human enhancement.

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Curtis, Annaleigh, , . Feminism Part 2: The Difference Approach
2014, 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Nathan Nobis

Abstract: Different strands of thought that arise out of political movements are often difficult to categorize and also often answer to many names. The ‘difference approach’ to feminism is discussed here, following Haslanger and Hackett. This approach is sometimes also called radical, cultural, or gynocentric feminism.

Comment: An introduction to feminism, focusing on ‘the Difference Approach’ to feminism.
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Nochlin, Linda, , . Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?
1971, ARTnews.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: In the field of art history, the white Western male viewpoint, unconsciously accepted as the viewpoint of the art historian, may – and does – prove to be inadequate not merely on moral and ethical grounds, or because it is elitist, but on purely intellectual ones. In revealing the failure of much academic art history, and a great deal of history in general, to take account of the unacknowledged value system, the very presence of an intruding subject in historical investigation, the feminist critique at the same time lays bare its conceptual smugness, its meta-historical naivete. At a moment when all disciplines are becoming more self-conscious, more aware of the nature of their presuppositions as exhibited in the very languages and structures of the various fields of scholarship, such uncritical acceptance of ‘what is’ as ‘natural’ may be intellectually fatal. Just as Mill saw male domination as one of a long series of social injustices that had to be overcome if a truly just social order were to be created, so we may see the unstated domination of white male subjectivity as one in a series of intellectual distortions which must be corrected in order to achieve a more adequate and accurate view of historical situations.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Patridge, Stephanie, , . Exclusivism and Evaluation: Art, Erotica and Pornography
2013, in Pornographic Art and the Aesthetics of Pornography, ed. by Hans Maes (London: Palgrave Macmillan).
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Content: Patridge discusses and rejects some of the main arguments for the exclusivist thesis that no pornography can be art: Levinson’s, Mag Uidhir’s, and one based on Rea’s definition of pornography. In doing so, she offers a useful overview of some other arguments already used against those authors. This leads her to conclude that at least some pornography can be art. A normative question follows: should we treat pornography as art? Given the high cultural status of art, and the often unethical nature of pornography, doing so might lead us to promoting unethical attitudes. She finds such treatment too unselective: at least some pornography isn’t morally problematic (and some of it can actually be morally laudable), while much of art, including erotic art, definitely is. But consumption of pornography cannot be taken out of our paternalistic and sexist cultural context. As most pornography is inegalitarian and expresses (and possibly promotes) harmful attitudes towards women, enjoying it constitutes a moral flaw. This is true even if the consumer is never inspired to actually harm women – in those cases enjoyment of pornography constitutes moral obliviousness, a ‘failure of sensitivity and solidarity with the victims of such imagery’ (54) similar to taking enjoyment in racist jokes.

Comment: This text offers a good and brief overview of the main points in the art and pornography debate. This makes it a good ‘one-stop-shop’ for classes which do not wish to look at it more closely. Alternatively, it can be used as an introduction to the topic and followed by some more specific papers. It also engages the normative question and offers a discussion of moral issues related to pornography. This will likely prove to be a very interesting point for class discussions.

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