Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Robert Westmoreland

Relational Format



In a 1981 journal article, “Is There A Right to Pornography?,” Ronald Dworkin argues that we have a right to ethical independence that includes the right to consume pornography. The purpose of this thesis is to inquire as to whether Dworkinian liberalism does entail a right to specifically internet pornography. This research is primarily focused on Ronald Dworkin’s writings in Justice for Hedgehogs, Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality, and Taking Rights Seriously to describe the principles and character of Dworkinian liberalism and its philosophical relationship to the question of the right to pornography. This thesis considers contemporary pornography consumption and its prevalence as it relates to the effects of internet technology on its availability. Given the nature and the source of pornography’s influence upon the ethical landscape, this thesis argues that contemporary pornography availability undermines the conditions of dignity and that certain types of prohibition do not offend the right to ethical independence.

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