Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

 A Dialogical Perspective of Feminism and Pornography, by Robert Cavalier

Pornography as Dialogue

Pragmatists like Rorty take our post-Nietzschean culture seriously. There are no '800' numbers to call when we confront moral perplexity, no algorithms to use when deep conflicts of value arise. All that we are left with is what Dewey called 'social intelligence'--that open forum where ideas clash and human truth emerges: "A liberal society is one which is content to call 'true' (or 'right' or 'just') whatever the outcome of undistorted communication happens to be, whatever view wins in a free and open encounter" (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity p. 67). In this dialogical move, "...there are no constraints on inquiry save CONVERSATIONAL ones--no wholesale constraints derived from the nature of objects, or of mind, or of language, but only those retail constraints provided by the remarks of our fellow-inquirers." (p. 165)

And that is why the unique form of these articles bears special relation to the pressing issues of these articles. From the pragmatist's perspective, Computer Mediated Communication might provide an Electronic Agora where the market-place of ideas could hold full sway. Furthermore, the rich environment of the World Wide Web and its hypermedia design might be thoughtfully used to enrich the data being discussed and deepen the appreciation of the problems brought to light by the interlocutors. Indeed, the 'conversational turn' that has been occurring in meta-ethical theory requires us to consider ways of linking these kinds of 'papers' to a forum where, for example, MacKinnon, Califia, and Cornell could continue their conversations, buttressing their positions with links to other sources and people on the World Wide Web. --

CMC Magazine Index
Contents Archive Sponsors Studies Contact