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Abstract

Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby argue that there may be a free-speech argument against pornography, if pornographic speech has the power to illocutionarily silence women: women's locution ‘No!’ that aims to refuse unwanted sex may misfire because pornography creates communicative conditions where the locution does not count as a refusal. Central to this is the view that women's speech lacks uptake, which is necessary for illocutionary acts like that of refusal. Alexander Bird has critiqued this view by arguing that uptake is not necessary for the illocutionary act of refusal. The Hornsby-Langton view, then, is philosophically indefensible. Here I defend the philosophical cogency of the Hornsby-Langton approach.