Silencing and speaking up

The ZAS conference is on Oppressive Speech, Societies & Norms. “Silencing, Speaking up & Free Speech” is one of the themes. The irony of organizing such a conference and then booting one of the speakers is conspicuous.

It reads to me as if it fits the theme of the workshop (which isn’t “scientific” in the first place – “oppressive” is not a scientific concept) perfectly.

ZAS elaborates on the theme:

Speech can be used to change societies in bad ways. It supports institutional oppression, establishes new oppressive norms, silences opponents, spreads disinformation and propagates feelings of hate. Online communities magnify the effects of individual speech acts. This workshop series, comprising five meetings, will dive into five different aspects of oppressive speech. We’ll look at social norms and institutions, silencing and free speech, social meaning, norm-shifting and disinformation. We’ll bring several tools and perspectives from linguistics, social modelling, and philosophy, including game theory, semantics/pragmatics and speech act theory. We’ll seek answers to how oppressive speech works and how to defend against it.

Unless we change our minds when we read the abstract, in which case all bets are off.

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