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Contemporary Moral Problems Notes - March 22 and 24

by: Jada Notetaker

Contemporary Moral Problems Notes - March 22 and 24 PHIL 3720

Marketplace > Georgia State University > PHIL-Philosophy > PHIL 3720 > Contemporary Moral Problems Notes March 22 and 24
Jada Notetaker
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These notes are from the fourth week of March.
Contemporary Moral Problems
Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer
Class Notes
Contemporary Moral Problems, PHIL 3720, Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer, Ms. Dwyer
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jada Notetaker on Sunday April 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 3720 at Georgia State University taught by Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Moral Problems in PHIL-Philosophy at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 04/03/16
3/22/16: Prostitution (Nussbaum) Reading “Whether from Reason or Prejudice: Taking Money for Bodily Services” by Martha  Nussbaum Feminist Theory Sexism – anything that constitutes or sustains the unjust differences between the sexes Levels of Sexism: Institutional Sexism ­ (rules or laws that prevent women from entering certain  fields, jobs where the “ideal worker” isn’t a child’s primary caregiver, etc.)        Interpersonal Sexism – “You fight like a girl!”        Unconscious Sexism – everyone’s biases and prejudices Nussbaum will be focusing on the Institutional variety. Theories of Feminism (all trying to scope out the source of inequality) Humanist ­ Men and Women are treated differently. ­ However, both are the same. ­ This is Nussbaum’s branch of feminism. Gynocentric ­ Women and Men are fundamentally different. ­ Sex oppression will end when masculine values aren’t valued more highly than feminine  ones. Dominance ­ This theory focuses on power relations. ­ Men have power over women. ­ This is Watson’s branch of feminism. Gender hierarchies: Men, in this case, have the power to buy women. Perhaps it would be  better to create more economic opportunities for women. Models of Prostitution Sex Work ­ a.k.a., The Oldest Profession ­ Prostitution’s stigma comes from it being criminalized. ­ Focuses on agency. ­ Dutch Model ­ Ideal circumstances are used. ­ Proper regulation ­ Nussbaum advocates for this model. Sex Exploitation ­ It’s The Oldest Oppression ­ Its focus is the transfer of wealth. ­ Nordic Model ­ Deals with realistic circumstances. ­ Selling is decriminalized, but buying is criminalized in its place. ­ This is Watson’s side. (She accepts Nussbaum’s claim that prostitution is sex work [even  though she puts quotes around the phrase], but is concerned about what follows from  that.) In her essay, Nussbaum compares prostitution to six other pressions: A factory worker, domestic  servant to a rich family, nightclub singer who takes requests from paying customers, philosophy  profession, skilled masseuse, and “colonoscopy artist” (a semi­hypothetical career wherein a  woman ). Prostitute vs. Philosophy Professor  Intimacy  Identity with selfhood  Agency  Working as a philosophy professor used to be seen in the same light of disgrace as  prostitution.  Nussbaum equates the invasion of an idea into the professor’s mind to the bodily invasion a prostitute accepts. Prostitute vs. Colonoscopy Artist (CA)  Both consent to bodily invasion.  Skillset: The CA must tolerate the probing without the aid of anesthesia.  However, their purposes differ. The CA does this to further the advances of sciences. Prostitute vs. Factory Worker  They’re both typically low­paying jobs.  Health risks are suffered by both. However, prostitutes would be safer if their profession  was legal.  The prostitute may have more flexible hours and working conditions.  The prostitute can also choose who she accepts as clients and “requires skill and  responsiveness to new situations” to do her job while the factory worker only repetitively  does the task(s) assigned to her (Nussbaum 701­702).  However, people rarely attack factory workers, unlike prostitutes. The factory worker  also isn’t invaded.  The prostitute faces social stigma related to her work. Prostitute vs. Domestic Servant  Both don’t have a lot of say over how they do their jobs.  Both require some “bodily skills,” but the domestic servant isn’t invaded bodily.  The risk of abuse is likely for both, but more so for the prostitute.  Both are not well­respected and subject to their own stigmas.  Prostitutes have better working hours, but face more health risks. Prostitute vs. Nightclub Singer  Nightclub singing was once seen as a disrespectable profession, but have move on from  that.  Both give their patrons pleasure via their bodies, which is their goal.  Both need to react quickly to feedback and may be able to negotiate or improvise what  they do.  Control, working conditions, and pay depend on the situation.  Again, the prostitute deals with bodily invasion and health risk the singer doesn’t have to. Prostitute vs. Masseuse  At one time, the masseuse had to deal with similar stigma to the prostitute. This  respectability was hard­won, giving masseuses access to more flexible working hours and higher pay.  Both professions use bodily contact to bring about pleasure in their clients. This does not  involve bodily invasion in the masseuse’s case.  The massages may be to relieve pain or other health reasons, but not for erotic purposes.  Giving massages is legal.  Nussbaum argues that the only difference between them is one has sex, but the other  doesn’t. 3/24/16: Prostitution (Watson) Watson’s Argument OSHA Standards If “sex work” (the quotes are hers) can truly be regulated, then it’ll have to comply with the  OSHA standards every other occupation must follow. OSHA Focuses on workers’ safety. Exposure to infectious materials (sperm, in this case) must be dealt with immediately and with the appropriate tools. If there is a reasonable expectation of exposure (such as during oral sex), workers must  wear gloves, goggles, lab coats, and other protective gear as necessary. Condoms aren’t 100% effective against all STDs/STIs, so those are out of the question. California passed a law requiring porn actors to use condoms during filming. The film  companies either moved out of state or shot bareback scenes illegally. This law stopped  absolutely no one. Should exceptions be made for “sex workers?” If so, what does that say about prostitutes’ worth  relative to other workers? Sexual Harassment sexual harassment – unwelcomed and involuntary bodily contact  Can you even enforce these regulations? Do (more) exceptions need to be made?  In this situation, the buyer has power over the seller (callback to Dominance Feminism).  Under this model, sex work itself is unwelcomed. If she wasn’t getting paid for it, she  probably wouldn’t be having sex with that person. Civil Rights  This applies mostly to the buyers.  No one can discriminate against customers based on sex, race, nationality, disability, or  any other protected classes. Therefore, no prostitute can turn away clients based on these  factors.


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