Silencing speech

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):pp. 309-338 (2009)
Pornography deserves special protections, it is often said, because it qualifies as speech. Therefore, no matter what we think of its content, we must afford it the protections that we extend to most speech, but don’t extend to other actions.1 In response, Jennifer Hornsby and Rae Langton have argued that the case is not so simple: one of the harms of pornography, they claim, is that it silences women’s speech, thereby preventing women from deriving from speech the very benefits that warranted the special protections in the first place.2 At first glance, it is hard to see how to make sense of this response. If the claim is that pornography prevents women from actually uttering words, then it just seems false; on the other hand, if that isn’t the claim, then it isn’t clear how anyone can be said to be silenced. Faced with such worries, many have been inclined to dismiss these claims about silencing as confused.
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DOI 10.1353/cjp.0.0050
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Mary Kate McGowan (2009). Oppressive Speech. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):389 – 407.
Mary Kate McGowan (2009). Debate: On Silencing and Sexual Refusal. Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (4):487-494.

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