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Sincerity Silencing



Catharine MacKinnon claims that pornography silences women in a way that violates the right to free speech. This claim is, of course, controversial, but if it is correct, then the very free speech reasons for protecting pornography appear also to afford reason to restrict it. For this reason, it has gained considerable attention.

The philosophical literature thus far focuses on a type of silencing identified and analyzed by Jennifer Hornsby and Rae Langton (H&L). This article identifies, analyzes, and argues for the importance of a different type of silencing.

As we shall see, there are compelling reasons in favor of regarding H&L silencing as a free speech violation and, as I argue here, the same can be said for sincerity silencing. Although additional work needs to be done to show that either one actually is a free speech violation, I demonstrate here that both types of silencing equally warrant this further attention. Moreover, I show that sincerity silencing is a fairly widespread phenomenon; so, therefore, is the harm it constitutes. As a result of these considerations, then, we can safely conclude that sincerity silencing also requires our attention.