Stuart Hampshire writes about common decency

The report of the Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship is a splendid state document and worthy of its difficult subject.[*] This reviewer may take pride in the fact that the report bears the marks of having been in part written by, and supervised by, a philosopher, the chairman of the Committee, Bernard Williams. Philosophy does many things, some plainly useful and some rather remote from common concerns: but at least it always leaves in the mind of those who have studied it an ever-ready set of warning bells, a nagging sense of intellectual insecurity, and of the ever-present danger of slipping on a banana skin of plausible rhetoric and received ideas. A principal source of pleasure in this report is the wealth of necessary distinctions drawn. Placed on permanent record here, these ought to protect us against the pollution and fog hitherto hanging around the subject of sex and violence. The level of debate has been raised, and, it can be hoped, permanently.

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[*] HMSO, 269 pp., £5.25, November, 010 177720 5.