Moral outrage porn

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (2):147-72 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


We offer an account of the generic use of the term “porn”, as seen in recent usages such as “food porn” and “real estate porn”. We offer a definition adapted from earlier accounts of sexual pornography. On our account, a representation is used as generic porn when it is engaged with primarily for the sake of a gratifying reaction, freed from the usual costs and consequences of engaging with the represented content. We demonstrate the usefulness of the concept of generic porn by using it to isolate a new type of such porn: moral outrage porn. Moral outrage porn is representations of moral outrage, engaged with primarily for the sake of the resulting gratification, freed from the usual costs and consequences of engaging with morally outrageous content. Moral outrage porn is dangerous because it encourages the instrumentalization of one’s empirical and moral beliefs, manipulating their content for the sake of gratification. Finally, we suggest that when using porn is wrong, it is often wrong because it instrumentalizes what ought not to be instrumentalized.

Similar books and articles

The Lexicon of Offense: The Meanings of Torture, Porn, and ‘Torture Porn”.Steve Jones - 2012 - In Feona Attwood, Ian Hunter, Vincent Campbell & Sharon Lockyear (eds.), Controversial Images: Media Representations on the Edge. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 186-200.
Spierig Brothers' Jigsaw (2017) - Torture Porn Rebooted?Steve Jones - 2019 - In Simon Bacon (ed.), Horror: A Companion. Oxford, UK: Peter Lang. pp. 85-92.
II. Hamlet without the prince of Denmark revisited: Pörn on Kierkegaard and the self.Alastair Hannay - 1985 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 28 (1-4):261-271.
Why Internet Porn Matters.Margret Grebowicz - 2013 - Stanford University Press.
Teaching Post-Pornography.Tim Gregory & Astrid Lorange - 2018 - Cultural Studies Review 24 (1):137-149.


Added to PP

7,818 (#324)

6 months
1,016 (#240)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

C. Thi Nguyen
University of Utah
Bekka Williams
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Citations of this work

Playfulness versus epistemic traps.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
Was it Polarization or Propaganda? [REVIEW]C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Research 46:173-191.
Moral grandstanding as a threat to free expression.Justin Tosi & Brandon Warmke - 2020 - Social Philosophy and Policy 37 (2):170-189.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Echo chambers and epistemic bubbles.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Episteme 17 (2):141-161.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
Moral Grandstanding.Justin Tosi & Brandon Warmke - 2016 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (3):197-217.
The puzzle of imaginative resistance.Tamar Szabo Gendler - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):55-81.

View all 15 references / Add more references