Should Public Nudity Be Illegal?


It’s ridiculous that women are required to cover their breasts in public.

Q1 Analysis

This is a Q1 violation if you think that there are standards of decency you would want respected and you cannot explain why they should be in a different category than keeping breasts covered. It is also a violation if there are some places you think women’s breasts should be covered but cannot define why those places should be exceptions.

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation unless it would bother you for someone else to use a similar argument to go against your standards of decency.


Some of the most difficult questions in ethics arise when two of your own beliefs are in conflict. In this case, you must balance personal freedom (the desire to go topless) and respect for other peoples’ standards of decency (which, by Q2, you must have if you would ask others to respect your standards).

For example, would you choose personal freedom or respecting other people’s standards in the case of:

You might argue that there is no rational reason for women’s breasts to be considered indecent. But if you do that, you run the risk of having to find a rational reason for conforming to any standards you have regarding public behavior (e.g., eating, passing gas, displaying affection, personal grooming, staring, or using certain words).

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on December 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

3 Responses

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  1. Written by ff42
    on December 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    In an ideal world there would be no ‘public’ – everything would be owned by an individual or group and, being private property owners, can set their own rules about nudity.

  2. Written by Onanymous
    on December 10, 2010 at 6:12 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I think the standard in ethical questions should always be: “Is there someone harmed in the process?” If the answer is no, you dont really have an ethical question.
    In your list, I would only objest to

    “Listening to a political or religious talk radio station where others can hear.”

    but not because its political or religious, but because its annoying and can if sufficiently loud, disrupt conversations and therefore be (kinda) harmful.

    Nice idea though. What I have been pondering the last few days goes along a similar line: Why is pornography not freely availible to those, who need it the most? 12-16 year olds.

  3. Written by Onanymous
    on December 10, 2010 at 6:18 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Sorry for double posting:
    “# A woman covering her hair in a synagogue.
    # A woman covering her hair in public.
    # A woman covering her hair in public in a Muslim nation.
    # A woman covering her face in public in a Muslim nation.”

    I could also see a problem with these, but I dont think this would be a q2 mistake: It can savely be assumed that this does not happen of the womans free will, even if it seems that way or she argues that way, it is very propable that she was conditioned to think exactly that.
    So this would constitute being “harmful” although not only on part of the woman.

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