Alek Willsey: "Authority Deprivation and Discursive Injustice"

Alek Willsey
Strickland Hall 114

To order someone to φ, the speaker must have the practical authority necessary to give that order. However, recent accounts of a speaker’s practical authority cannot explain how a speaker can experience discursive injustice: a systematic inability to perform certain speech acts because of their social identity. Recent work in the philosophy of language has studied how, for example, women in social positions of high-rank may still experience the inability to give orders to others within their institutions. Existing accounts of practical authority lack the resources to explain why and how a speaker with high-rank, and entitlements to give orders because of that rank, can experience a systematic and unjust inability to perform certain speech acts. I argue for a novel account of speaker authority which explains a speaker’s discursive injustice in terms of the deprived practical authority that she is entitled to have.