Nina Abesadze - Pornography and Context: A Reply to Saul

I consider a speech act approach to pornography which has been put forward by Langton (1993). I begin by reconstructing her argument that pornography is a speech act of subordinating women. Next, I examine Saul’s (2006) critique of Langton’s argument. Saul has contended that pornography, as a context-neutral material, cannot coherently be considered as a speech act of any sort. By contrast, when we add contextual elements into Langton’s argument, the claim becomes coherent but false. In my paper, I show that it’s possible to amend Langton’s argument in a way that it is both coherent and plausible. Briefly, my argument is that, in many cases, the illocutionary force of pornographic viewing is fixed by pornographic websites.

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