Alek Willsey: "Authority Deprivation and Discursive Injustice"

Alek Willsey
Fri, Nov 22 2019, 3 - 4pm
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.