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Reading: A Dilemma for the Silencing Argument

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A Dilemma for the Silencing Argument

Author:

Emma J Curran

Abstract

In the debate surrounding the censorship of pornography, arguments from freedom of speech have been the presumptive resource of pornography’s defenders. Yet, a strain of argument in favour of censorship – the Silencing Argument – has emerged on the basis of pornography’s supposed silencing of women. I seek, firstly, to outline Hornsby and Langton’s (1998) version of the Silencing Argument, before disproving the conditional which takes the argument from its empirical claim to its conclusion that a protected speech act has been rendered unspeakable. I will do so by establishing, by way of a counterexample, that the key linguistic claim on which the argument rests is false. I will proceed to assess the possibility of modifying the linguistic claim as to avoid the counterexample. I will, in turn, establish a dilemma which is generated by attempts to modify the linguistic claim, before concluding that such attempts are consequently fruitless.
How to Cite: Curran, E.J., 2019. A Dilemma for the Silencing Argument. Rerum Causae, 10(2), pp.67–77.
Published on 14 Sep 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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