Crucial to the debate over the censorship of hate speech is a question of how meaning operates in language, and the political consequences thereof. I respond through an analysis of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “meaning-as-use,” which situates language as an activity, a form of life. I argue Wittgenstein’s philosophy is a deconstruction of meaning, anticipating that of Jacques Derrida, which implies an ethical openness to the ambivalence of language. This is ostensibly contrary to the efforts of conscientious censorship. However, it is only by being open to the ambivalence of the word that we can work past hate speech and toward empowerment.
Naff, Ami H., "Specters of Meaning: Deconstructing Wittgenstein and Reconstructing Ethics" (2017). Philosophy Honors Projects. 11.
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