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Out from the ShadowsAnalytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy$
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Sharon L. Crasnow and Anita M. Superson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199855469

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199855469.001.0001

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Illocution and Expectations of Being Heard

Illocution and Expectations of Being Heard

Chapter:
(p.217) 9 Illocution and Expectations of Being Heard
Source:
Out from the Shadows
Author(s):

Maura Tumulty

Colgate University

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199855469.003.0010

Jennifer Hornsby and Rae Langton have argued that in some cultural contexts, women are not able to perform the illocutionary act of refusing sex by saying “No.” They argue that this illocutionary disablement is a kind of silencing. The silencing happens because men sometimes do not hear “No” as a refusal of sex, and hence sometimes a woman who utters “No” cannot achieve uptake of her intended illocution. Hornsby and Langton follow J. L. Austin in taking uptake to be necessary to illocution. But this view of Austin's is controversial and has recently been criticized by Alexander Bird. I argue that while uptake isn’t necessary to every illocutionary act, a speaker's beliefs about the possibility of uptake play a key role in some kinds of illocutionary acts. Because refusal is an illocutionary act of such a kind, women can be silenced in contexts where they believe their refusals won’t be heard as refusals. We are therefore still able to acknowledge loss of expressive power as a harm women sometimes suffer.

Keywords:   illocution, illocutionary force, silencing, Langton, Rae, Hornsby, Jennifer, Bird, Alexander, Austin, J. L

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