Abstract: We defend the view of some feminist writers that the notion of silencing has to be taken seriously in discussions of free speech. We assume that what ought to be meant by ‘speech’, in the context ‘free speech’, is whatever it is that a correct justification of the right to free speech justifies one in protecting. And we argue that what one ought to mean includes illocution, in the sense of J.L. Austin.
Comment: Very useful for an ethics course element on free speech, or for a feminist philosophy course, or indeed a philosophy of language (trap with the latter is that essays might become too 'ethics'-y). Would definitely be suitable as a core text, with set questions focusing on different elements of the paper to draw out the key arguments. Students could be asked whether they agree with this definition of free speech, and to apply it in different contexts that have recently been in the news.