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paper 1 - 1 Keya Agarwal Philosophy 140: Contemporary Moral...

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1 Keya Agarwal Philosophy 140: Contemporary Moral and Social Issues Professor Jeshion Nicholas Laskowski – session 49322 Paper #1 Paper Topic: What is Ericsson’s argument for the moral acceptability of prostitution? Critically evaluate the argument for soundness, making sure to choose two problems and “extend the dialect.” The Idealized Sex Trade: A critical evaluation of Lars O. Ericsson’s Charges against Prostitution In this paper, I will evaluate two of Lars O. Ericsson’s arguments for defending prostitution. The first argument is against the Sentimentalist Charge, and the second is against The Feminist Charge. Then, I will explore and conclude with how Ericsson’s arguments sound better in theory than in practice, as he addresses an ideal form of prostitution, instead of the realities that are addressed by the Charges he challenges. Furthermore, his oversimplification of the issue makes his arguments against opposing theories more susceptible to being disproved, and thus his theory less sound. Ericsson’s defense against prostitution is a theory based on challenging the various views that purport the immorality and/or social undesirability of the industry. Hence, the aim of his theory is firstly to criticize the view that prostitution is an undesirable social occurrence that should be put an end to, and secondly, highlight the primary causes for why prostitution has undesirable social associations. He claims that the reason why we assess prostitution as socially undesirable is that we have instilled, hypocritical moral views about promiscuous sex that extend to the sale of sex. Ericsson rationalizes that if we detach these associations from prostitution, then we will no longer
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2 consider prostitution as socially undesirable. To further his reasoning he suggests that we treat prostitution as a service, and no more than that, just as any other in an open market 1 . The first argument that I wish to focus my paper on is Ericsson’s stance on the devaluation of prostitutes. He presents the example of an assistant nurse, whose job is to take care of the intimate hygiene of disabled patients. He then follows this case by stating that a prostitute’s job, for example, is to masturbate her customer. He then deducts that the assistant nurse’s job is the same as the prostitute’s job since they are both providing services that help satisfy human needs, for which they are paid. Finally, he concludes by stating that if we devalue the prostitute we are devaluing the assistant nurse as well 2 . Ericsson proposed this argument in retaliation to The Sentimentalist Charge on the
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2012 for the course PHIL 140 taught by Professor Yaffe during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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paper 1 - 1 Keya Agarwal Philosophy 140: Contemporary Moral...

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