David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophia 36 (3):375-388 (2008)
According to inferential role semantics (IRS), for any given expression to possess a particular meaning one must be disposed to make or, alternatively, acknowledge as correct certain inferential transitions involving it. As Williamson points out, pejoratives such as ‘Boche’ seem to provide a counter-example to IRS. Many speakers are neither disposed to use such expressions nor consider it proper to do so. But it does not follow, as IRS appears to entail, that such speakers do not understand pejoratives or that they lack meaning. In this paper, I examine recent responses to this problem by Boghossian and Brandom and argue that their proposed construal of the kind of inferential rules governing a pejorative such as ‘Boche’ is to be ruled out on the grounds that it is non-conservative. I defend the appeal to conservatism in this instance against criticism and, in doing so, propose an alternative approach to pejoratives on behalf of IRS that resolves the problem Williamson poses.
|Keywords||Inferentialism Meaning Conservatism Pejoratives Semantics|
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References found in this work BETA
Robert B. Brandom (1994). Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment. Harvard University Press.
Michael A. E. Dummett (1991). The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Luvell Anderson & Ernie Lepore (2013). What Did You Call Me? Slurs as Prohibited Words. Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):350-363.
Daniel Whiting (2013). It's Not What You Said, It's the Way You Said It: Slurs and Conventional Implicatures. Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):364-377.
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