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Is Pornography 'Speech'?

21 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2007 Last revised: 8 May 2009

Date Written: March 1, 2007

Abstract

Is pornography within the coverage of the First Amendment? A familiar argument claims that it is not. This argument reasons that (1) the free speech principle protects the communication of ideas, which appeal to the reason (the major premise); (2) pornography communicates no ideas and appeals to the passions rather than the reason (the minor premise); (3) therefore pornography is not protected by the free speech principle. This argument has been specified in different ways by different writers. The most prominent and careful of these are Frederick Schauer and John Finnis. Both founder on the attempt to distinguish pornography from art, which both would protect. If art, film, and literature should be protected, then this protection should extend to the pornographic subsets of these genres.

Keywords: Free Speech, Consitutional Law

Suggested Citation

Koppelman, Andrew, Is Pornography 'Speech'? (March 1, 2007). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 07-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=976914 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.976914

Andrew M. Koppelman (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8431 (Phone)

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