Toxic Speech: Toward an Epidemiology of Discursive Harm

  title={Toxic Speech: Toward an Epidemiology of Discursive Harm},
  author={Lynne Tirrell},
  journal={Philosophical Topics},
  pages={139 - 161}
  • Lynne Tirrell
  • Published 5 October 2017
  • Sociology
  • Philosophical Topics
ABSTRACT:Applying a medical conception of toxicity to speech practices, this paper calls for an epidemiology of discursive toxicity. Toxicity highlights the mechanisms by which speech acts and discursive practices can inflict harm, making sense of claims about harms arising from speech devoid of slurs, epithets, or a narrower class I call 'deeply derogatory terms.' Further, it highlights the role of uptake and susceptibility, and so suggests a framework for thinking about damage variation… 
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