How do artifacts get their functions? It is typically thought that an artifact’s function depends on its maker’s intentions. This chapter argues that this common understanding is fatally flawed. Nor can artifact function be understood in terms of current uses or capacities. Instead, it proposes that we understand artifact function on the etiological model that Ruth Millikan and others have proposed for the biological realm. This model offers a robustly normative conception of function, but it does so naturalistically by employing (...) our best scientific theories, in particular natural selection. To help make this case, it proposes “living artifacts” (organisms designed for human purposes through artificial selection) as a bridge between the artifactual and the biological realms. (shrink)
In this essay, we aim to provide an overview of the political and philosophical issues pertaining to asexuality. The ﬁrst section, “What Is Asexuality?,” oﬀers an account of asexuality. The second section, “Asexuality as a Unique Sexual Orientation,” argues that asexuality should be understood as a unique sexual orientation. The third section, “Asexuality and Oppression,” discusses the various forms of oppression facing asexual persons today. The fourth section, “The Goods of Asexuality,” articulates some goods that asexuality brings to human lives, (...) and we do this with an eye toward conceiving of asexuality as something other than a mere deﬁcit. (shrink)
Titian's Rape of Europa is highly praised for its luminous colors and sensual textures. But the painting has an overlooked dark side, namely that it eroticizes rape. I argue that this is an ethical defect that diminishes the painting aesthetically. This argument-that an artwork can be worse off qua work of art precisely because it is somehow ethically problematic-demonstrates that feminist concerns about art can play a legitimate role in art criticism and aesthetic appreciation.
How, if at all, are we to distinguish between the works that we call ‘art’ and those that we call ‘pornography’? This question gets a grip because from classical Greek vases and the frescoes of Pompeii to Renaissance mythological painting and sculpture to Modernist prints, the European artistic tradition is chock-full of art that looks a lot like pornography. In this paper I propose a way of thinking about the distinction that is grounded in art historical considerations regarding the function (...) of erotic images in 16 th -century Italy. This exploration suggests that the root of the erotic art/pornography distinction was—at least in this context—class: in particular, the need for a special category of unsanctioned illicit images arose at the very time when print culture was beginning to threaten elite privilege. What made an erotic representation exceed the boundaries of acceptability, I suggest, was not its extreme libidinosity but, rather, its widespread availability and, thereby, its threat to one of the mechanisms of sustaining class privilege. (shrink)