David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Hypatia 29 (2):440-457 (2014)
I explore how gender can shape the pragmatics of speech. In some circumstances, when a woman deploys standard discursive conventions in order to produce a speech act with a specific performative force, her utterance can turn out, in virtue of its uptake, to have a quite different force—a less empowering force—than it would have if performed by a man. When members of a disadvantaged group face a systematic inability to produce a specific kind of speech act that they are entitled to perform—and in particular when their attempts result in their actually producing a different kind of speech act that further compromises their social position and agency—then they are victims of what I call discursive injustice. I examine three examples of discursive injustice. I contrast my account with Langton and Hornsby's account of illocutionary silencing. I argue that lack of complete control over the performative force of our speech acts is universal, and not a special marker of social disadvantage. However, women and other relatively disempowered speakers are sometimes subject to a distinctive distortion of the path from speaking to uptake, which undercuts their social agency in ways that track and enhance existing social disadvantages.
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References found in this work BETA
J. L. Austin (1975). How to Do Things with Words. Clarendon Press.
Miranda Fricker (2007). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford University Press.
Donald Davidson (2001). Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation: Philosophical Essays Volume 2. Clarendon Press.
Rae Langton (1993). Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts. Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (4):293-330.
Daniel Jacobson (1995). Freedom of Speech Acts? A Response to Langton. Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (1):64–78.
Citations of this work BETA
Mary Kate Mcgowan (2014). Sincerity Silencing. Hypatia 29 (2):458-473.
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