Freedom of Illocution? Response to Daniel Jacobson

Rae Langton

in Sexual Solipsism

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199247066
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191594823 | DOI:
Freedom of Illocution? Response to Daniel Jacobson

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Jacobson argues that free speech does not include freedom of illocution, that pornography does not in any case silence women. Just as well, or rape would not count as rape, since a silenced woman would not have refused sex. Jacobson is mistaken. Free speech includes more than freedom to say meaningful words, as Mill saw. It includes freedom to perform communicative illocutions, enabled by reciprocity, a mutual capacity for uptake. A woman who has her refusal silenced is still raped, since she does not consent. And women do encounter the silence of illocutionary disablement, on an Austinian understanding of speech. His allegation of ‘confusion’ is no more than a rejection of the Austinian starting point.

Keywords: free speech; Mill; Austin; illocution; perlocution; consent; refusal; reciprocity; uptake; rape

Chapter.  4575 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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