“The free speech of men silences the free speech of women. It is the same social goal, just other people.” – Catherine MacKinnon
There is a small but growing literature, starting with the work of Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby in the late 1990’s, that attempts to defend MacKinnon from charges of incoherence by means of the work of J.L. Austin. My view is that this literature largely misreads Austin – admittedly in a way that many people misread Austin – and as a result misses some of the most interesting connections between the two. I also maintain that the role of convention (in Ruth Millikan‘s sense) in silencing is generally under appreciated.