Call for Papers
Theme: Hate Speech
Subtitle: What It Is and How It Works
Type: International Workshop
Institution: Institut für Philosophie, Karlsruher Institut für
Location: Karlsruhe (Germany)
Recent surveys suggest that hate speech is on the rise, particularly
on the internet and on social media. Hate speech, its potential to
harm individuals, and its corrosive effects on democracy and social
stability are widely discussed in politics, in the media, and by the
However, a closer look at public debate reveals that it is far from
clear what exactly hate speech is – despite occasional attempts to
provide sufficiently precise definitions. Some authors focus
exclusively on hostility on the internet, others equate hate speech
with the verbal expression of a speaker’s vitriolic emotions, and
still others treat ‘hate speech’ as synonymous with legal terms such
as ‘incitement of the masses’. The conceptual unclarities of public
debate are partly mirrored by scholarly debate, as various efforts to
outline a narrow conception of hate speech have not yet led to a
broad consensus among scholars.
In addition, there’s a lively scholarly debate about how hate speech
and harm are related. Empirical studies suggest that there is a
direct or indirect causal link between certain kinds of speech and
harm. On the other hand, leading scholars in feminist philosophy of
language have long pointed out that, arguably, there is a
constitutive relationship between speech and harm as well. According
to this constitutive view, certain speech acts in themselves are
harmful acts of silencing, subordination, or oppression. Relatedly,
since it seems that hate speakers require authority in order for
their utterances to ‘succeed’ as oppressive acts, questions
concerning authority have come to the fore.
The two-day workshop aims at advancing our understanding of the
nature of hate speech and its mode(s) of operation – what hate speech
is and how it works.
Accordingly, possible questions to be addressed are:
- What exactly is hate speech? Is there one (or are there few) core
concept(s) expressed by the term ‘hate speech’ as used in public
debate, or does ‘hate speech’ function as a mere umbrella term for
various kinds of harmful speech?
- Is the term ‘hate speech’ of any use, given that its meaning is far
from clear? Should we continue to use it? Should we (try to)
ameliorate the respective concept(s)?
- What exactly does it take for hate speech to constitute harm?
- Is (some) hate speech a subset of authoritative speech? If so, how
is the relevant authority gained?
- Which linguistic mechanisms does hate speech exploit? What is the
role of, e.g., presupposition accommodation or Gricean implicature?
- Alexander Brown (University of East Anglia)
- Katharine Gelber (University of Queensland)
- Mary Kate McGowan (Wellesley College)
- Mari Mikkola (Oxford University)
- Mihaela Popa-Wyatt (ZAS Berlin)
Call for Abstracts
In addition to the talks given by the invited speakers, there will be
three further slots available for paper presentations related to the
workshop topics. Each talk will be around 40 minutes, followed by a
We invite submissions of abstracts of up to 800 words. Abstracts
should be anonymized and give an outline of the main claims and
arguments. Please send your abstract to:
Accommodation of successful applicants will be covered, travel
expenses will be subsidized up to an amount of 350€.
Deadline for Abstract Submission:
November 30, 2019
Notification of Acceptance:
By end of December, 2019
Institut für Philosophie
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)