"The Witherspoon Institute chronicles the mounting evidence from social and neuro-science of pornography’s deep impact on our social life. No, it’s not just a private matter. The Social Costs of Pornography should make even laissez-faire skeptics view our internet-fueled pornocopia as a subject for serious debate."

Kay Hymowitz
Senior Fellow at The Manhattan Institute Contributing Editor of City Journal

About the Consultation

Organized by:

The Research Program on Family, Marriage, and Democracy of the Witherspoon Institute

Cosponsored by:

The Institute for the Psychological Sciences,

The Social Trends Institute

The Stuart Family Foundation

The consultation on "The Social Costs of Pornography was organized by the Witherspoon Institute in conjunction with the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Washington, DC and held at Princeton University, December 11 - 13, 2008. The consultation was hosted by Robert P. George, Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. This meeting assembled leading experts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, neurophysiology, philosophy, sociology, law, and political theory to present a rigorously argued overview of the problem of pornography in our society and to make recommendations. The primary purpose of the meeting was to examine the real nature of pornography in its moral and social consequences.

It is essential to note the scholars who participated in this consultation represent a wide range of political perspectives, but share a common interest in addressing pornography's devastating social cost. At the two-day-long consultation, ten scholars delivered papers on subject-specific aspects of pornography's impact, and approximately twelve scholars served as discussants throughout the meeting. This format ensured that the papers will be energetically critiqued in order to promote a fair and in-depth assessment of the issues in question.

Presenting Scholars

  • Roger Scruton Institute for Psychological Sciences
  • Hadley Arkes Amherst College
  • Norman Doidge, M.D. Columbia University
  • Jill C. Manning Licensed marriage and family
    therapist and author
  • Ana Bridges University of Arkansas
  • Pamela Paul Author and journalist
  • Gerard V. Bradley, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • James Stoner Louisiana State University
  • K. Doran Notre Dame University
  • Hamza Yusuf Zaytuna Institute


  • Patrick Fagan Family Research Council
  • Robert P. George Princeton University
  • Mary Graw Leary Columbus School of Law (CUA)
  • Sara S. McLanahan Princeton University
  • Michael New University of Alabama
  • Joseph Price Brigham Young University
  • Gladys Sweeney Institute for the Psychological Sciences
  • W. Bradford Wilcox University of Virginia
  • Paul Vitz Institute for the Psychological Sciences, NYU Emeritus
  • David Tubbs Kings College
  • Mary Eberstadt Hoover Institute
  • Donna M. Hughes University of Rhode Island
  • Candace Vogler University of Chicago