Illocutionary Harm

Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)
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A number of philosophers have become interested in the ways that individuals are subject to harm as the performers of illocutionary acts. This paper offers an account of the underlying structure of such harms: I argue that speakers are the subjects of illocutionary harm when there is interference in the entitlement structure of their linguistic activities. This interference comes in two forms: denial and incapacitation. In cases of denial, a speaker is prevented from achieving the outcomes to which they are entitled by their speech (where such entitlements are based on their meeting certain conditions). In cases of incapacitation, a speaker's standing to expect certain outcomes is itself undermined. I also discuss how individual speakers are subject to interference along two dimensions: as exercisers of certain non-linguistic capacities (such as knowledge and authority), and as producers of meaningful speech.
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How to Do Things with Words.Austin, John Langshaw
Context.Stalnaker, Robert

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