Dangerous Confusion? Response to Ronald Dworkin
Dworkin regards as a ‘dangerous confusion’ the idea that pornography silences women. Pornography may teach some to ‘misunderstand’ what women say, fail to ‘respect’ them when they say ‘no’ to sex. But this does not infringe a negative liberty but merely a positive one, in Berlin's terms. Such a woman is like a flat-earther, who does not achieve respect for his views. Dworkin's argument fails, first, by his own lights: he needs to cast the argument in terms of equality, not negative liberty. Second, he is wrong about the silencing: it is not perlocutionary failure to achieve respect of one's hearers, but illocutionary failure to perform speech acts of refusal. His comparison with the flat-earther is morally, and conceptually, confused.
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