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Slurring Words

Noûs 47 (1):25-48 (2013)

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  1. Of Witches and White Folks.Daniel Wodak - 2022 - Wiley: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (3):587-605.
    A central debate in philosophy of race is between eliminativists and conservationists about what we ought do with ‘race’ talk. ‘Eliminativism’ is often defined such that it’s committed to holding that (a) ‘race’ is vacuous and races don’t exist, so (b) we should eliminate the term ‘race’ from our vocabulary. As a stipulative definition, that’s fine. But as an account of one of the main theoretical options in the debate, it’s a serious mistake. I offer three arguments for why eliminativism (...)
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  • Paving the Road to Hell: The Spanish Word Menas as a Case Study.José Ramón Torices & David Bordonaba - 2021 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 84:47-62.
    Menas is a term that has attracted a great deal of attention on the political scene in Spain at present. Although the term had a neutral usage originally, being an acronym for unaccompanied foreign minors, it has recently evolved into a term with clear negative connotations. This article explores what kind of term menas is today. Specifically, we will examine whether menas is a slur or an ESTI, an ethnic/social term used as an insult. First, we point out the most (...)
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  • Slurs: Departures From Genuine Uses and Derogation.Delia Belleri - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 62 (1):9-24.
    Some non-appropriated uses of slurs seem to be non–derogatory. In this paper, I argue that in a range of cases, the lack of derogation is owed to the term not being genuinely used. I first examine so–called pedagogical uses and show that they can be assimilated to what I call “distancing uses.” I then turn to a range of other apparently non–derogatory, non–appropriated uses of slurs – such as non–weapon uses, comedic uses – and argue that they can depart from (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility for Concepts, Continued: Concepts as Abstract Objects.Rachel Fredericks - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):1029-1043.
    In Fredericks (2018b), I argued that we can be morally responsible for our concepts if they are mental representations. Here, I make a complementary argument for the claim that even if concepts are abstract objects, we can be morally responsible for coming to grasp and for thinking (or not thinking) in terms of them. As before, I take for granted Angela Smith's (2005) rational relations account of moral responsibility, though I think the same conclusion follows from various other accounts. My (...)
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  • Semantic Dimensions of Slurs.Arthur Sullivan - 2021 - Philosophia 50 (3):1479-1493.
    I plot accounts of slurs on a [semanticist – non-semanticist] spectrum, and then I give some original arguments in favor of semanticist approaches. Two core, related pro-semanticist considerations which animate this work are: first, that the pejorative dimension of a slur is non-cancellable; and, second, that ignorance of the pejorative dimension should be counted as ignorance of literal, linguistic meaning, as opposed to a mistake about conditions for appropriate usage. I bolster these considerations via cases in which slurs are embedded (...)
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  • What Bigots Do Say: A Reply to DiFranco.Ramiro Caso & Nicolás Lo Guercio - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (4):265-274.
    Neutral Counterpart Theories of slurs hold that the truth-conditional contribution of a slur is the same as the truth-conditional contribution of its neutral counterpart. In, DiFranco argues that these theories, even if plausible for single-word slurs like ‘kike’ and ‘nigger’, are not suitable for complex slurs such as ‘slanty-eyed’ and ‘curry muncher’, figurative slurs like ‘Jewish American Princess’, or iconic slurring expressions like ‘ching chong’. In this paper, we argue that these expressions do not amount to genuine counterexamples to neutral (...)
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  • Words in Motion: Slurs in Indirect Report.Maria Paola Tenchini - 2021 - Gestalt Theory 43 (2):153-166.
    Summary Slurs are pejorative epithets that express negative attitudes toward a class of individuals sharing the same race, country of origin, sexual orientation, religion, and the like. The aim of this paper is to show what happens in communication when slurs are reported. It focuses on the derogatory content of such expressions and on the persistence of their performative effects in reported speech. In this respect, the question concerning the attribution of responsibility for the derogatory content conveyed by the slurs (...)
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  • Epistemic Slurs: A Novel Explicandum and Adequacy Constraint for Slur Theories.Adam Patterson - 2020 - Annalen der Philosophie 87 (4):2029-2046.
    I argue that there are slurs that are distinctly derogatory insofar as they only derogate their target’s epistemic faculties or capacities qua group member. I call these slurs epistemic slurs. Given that slur theories should explain the derogatory nature of all slurs, any comprehensive slur theory should be able to explain the derogatory nature of the epistemic slurs. I argue, however, that two particular expressivist theories of slurs cannot explain their distinctive derogatory nature. The epistemic slurs thus constitute a novel (...)
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  • Epistemic Slurs: A Novel Explicandum and Adequacy Constraint for Slur Theories.Adam Patterson - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):2029-2046.
    I argue that there are slurs that are distinctly derogatory insofar as they only derogate their target’s epistemic faculties or capacities qua group member. I call these slurs epistemic slurs. Given that slur theories should explain the derogatory nature of all slurs, any comprehensive slur theory should be able to explain the derogatory nature of the epistemic slurs. I argue, however, that two particular expressivist theories of slurs cannot explain their distinctive derogatory nature. The epistemic slurs thus constitute a novel (...)
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  • Las filósofas que nos formaron: injusticias, retos y posibilidades en la filosofía.Aurora Georgina Bustos Arellano & Mayra Jocelin Martínez Martínez - 2022 - Monterrey, Nuevo León, México: Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.
    Este es un libro que nace de nuestro compromiso por señalar las contribuciones de las filósofas a partir de la pregunta vital: ¿Quiénes nos formaron? Como resultado, se presenta este diálogo a doce voces; reunidas para dialogar, desde distintos lugares en América Latina, sobre nuestra formación teórica, profesional y humana desde una plataforma equitativa y franca. Concebido, en medio de la pandemia por SARS-CoV-2, queremos construir un espacio abierto a nuevas ideas, propuestas e identidades en la Filosofía. Más aún, queremos (...)
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  • Objectionable Commemorations, Historical Value, and Repudiatory Honouring.Ten-Herng Lai - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Many have argued that certain statues or monuments are objectionable, and thus ought to be removed. Even if their arguments are compelling, a major obstacle is the apparent historical value of those commemorations. Preservation in some form seems to be the best way to respect the value of commemorations as connections to the past or opportunities to learn important historical lessons. Against this, I argue that we have exaggerated the historical value of objectionable commemorations. Sometimes commemorations connect to biased or (...)
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  • Do Racists Speak Truly? On the Truth‐Conditional Content of Slurs.Ralph DiFranco - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):28-37.
    Slurs denigrate individuals qua members of certain groups, such as race or sexual orientation. Most theorists hold that each slur has a neutral counterpart, i.e., a term that references the slur's target group without denigrating them. According to a widely accepted view, which I call ‘Neutral Counterpart Theory’, the truth-conditional content of a slur is identical to the truth-conditional content of its neutral counterpart. My aim is to challenge this view. I argue that the view fails with respect to slurs (...)
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  • Hate Speech.Luvell Anderson & Michael Randall Barnes - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    -/- Hate speech is a concept that many people find intuitively easy to grasp, while at the same time many others deny it is even a coherent concept. A majority of developed, democratic nations have enacted hate speech legislation—with the contemporary United States being a notable outlier—and so implicitly maintain that it is coherent, and that its conceptual lines can be drawn distinctly enough. Nonetheless, the concept of hate speech does indeed raise many difficult questions: What does the ‘hate’ in (...)
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  • The Duality of Moral Language : On Hybrid Theories in Metaethics.Stina Björkholm - 2022 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    Moral language displays a characteristic duality. On the one hand, moral claims seem to be similar to descriptive claims: To say that an act is right seems to be a matter of making an assertion, thus indicating that the speaker has a moral belief about which she can be correct or mistaken. On the other hand, moral claims seem to be different from descriptive claims: There is a sense in which, by claiming that an act is right, a speaker indicates (...)
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  • Slurs under quotation.Stefan Rinner & Alexander Hieke - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1483-1494.
    Against content theories of slurs, according to which slurs have some kind of derogatory content, Anderson and Lepore have objected that they cannot explain that even slurs under quotation can cause offense. If slurs had some kind of derogatory content, the argument goes, quotation would render this content inert and, thus, quoted slurs should not be offensive. Following this, Anderson and Lepore propose that slurs are offensive because they are prohibited words. In this paper, we will show that, pace Anderson (...)
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  • Reference, Truth, and Biological Kinds.Marcel Weber - 2014 - In: J. Dutant, D. Fassio and A. Meylan (Eds.) Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel.
    This paper examines causal theories of reference with respect to how plausible an account they give of non-physical natural kind terms such as ‘gene’ as well as of the truth of the associated theoretical claims. I first show that reference fixism for ‘gene’ fails. By this, I mean the claim that the reference of ‘gene’ was stable over longer historical periods, for example, since the classical period of transmission genetics. Second, I show that the theory of partial reference does not (...)
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  • What Kind of a Mistake is It to Use a Slur?Adam Sennet & David Copp - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):1079-1104.
    What accounts for the offensive character of pejoratives and slurs, words like ‘kike’ and ‘nigger’? Is it due to a semantic feature of the words or to a pragmatic feature of their use? Is it due to a violation of a group’s desires to not be called by certain terms? Is it due to a violation of etiquette? According to one kind of view, pejoratives and the non-pejorative terms with which they are related—the ‘neutral counterpart’ terms—have different meanings or senses, (...)
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  • Conceptual Ethics I.Alexis Burgess & David Plunkett - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1091-1101.
    Which concepts should we use to think and talk about the world and to do all of the other things that mental and linguistic representation facilitates? This is the guiding question of the field that we call ‘conceptual ethics’. Conceptual ethics is not often discussed as its own systematic branch of normative theory. A case can nevertheless be made that the field is already quite active, with contributions coming in from areas as diverse as fundamental metaphysics and social/political philosophy. In (...)
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  • Conceptual Ethics I.David Plunkett Alexis Burgess - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1091-1101.
    Which concepts should we use to think and talk about the world and to do all of the other things that mental and linguistic representation facilitates? This is the guiding question of the field that we call ‘conceptual ethics’. Conceptual ethics is not often discussed as its own systematic branch of normative theory. A case can nevertheless be made that the field is already quite active, with contributions coming in from areas as diverse as fundamental metaphysics and social/political philosophy. In (...)
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  • Pejorative Verbs and the Prospects for a Unified Theory of Slurs.Adam Sennet & David Copp - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (2):130-151.
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  • Focus on Slurs.Poppy Mankowitz & Ashley Shaw - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Slurring expressions display puzzling behaviour when embedded, such as under negation and in attitude and speech reports. They frequently appear to retain their characteristic qualities, like offensiveness and propensity to derogate. Yet it is sometimes possible to understand them as lacking these qualities. A theory of slurring expressions should explain this variability. We develop an explanation that deploys the linguistic notion of focus. Our proposal is that a speaker can conversationally implicate metalinguistic claims about the aptness of a focused slurring (...)
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  • Slurring Perspectives.Elisabeth Camp - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):330-349.
  • Slurs and Stereotypes.Robin Jeshion - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):314-329.
  • What Did You Call Me? Slurs as Prohibited Words.Luvell Anderson & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):350-363.
  • Normalizing Slurs and Out‐Group Slurs: The Case of Referential Restriction.Justina Diaz Legaspe - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (2):234-255.
    The relation between slurs and their neutral counterparts has been put into question recently by the fact that some slurs can be used to refer to subsets of the referential classes determined by their associated counterparts. This paper aims to reinforce this relation by offering a way of explaining referential restriction that distinguishes between two kinds of slurs: those performing a normalizing role upon (some) individuals inside a class (mostly, a gender) and those used to derogate a marginalized out- group.
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  • Moral and Semantic Innocence.Christopher Hom & Robert May - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):293-313.
  • Who Reclaims Slurs?Bianca Cepollaro & Dan López de Sa - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
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  • It’s Not What You Said, It’s the Way You Said It: Slurs and Conventional Implicatures.Daniel Whiting - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):364-377.
    In this paper, I defend against a number of criticisms an account of slurs, according to which the same semantic content is expressed in the use of a slur as is expressed in the use of its neutral counterpart, while in addition the use of a slur conventionally implicates a negative, derogatory attitude. Along the way, I criticise competing accounts of the semantics and pragmatics of slurs, namely, Hom's 'combinatorial externalism' and Anderson and Lepore's 'prohibitionism'.
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  • Slurs and Redundancy.Y. Sandy Berkovski - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-16.
    According to nearly all theorists writing on the subject, a certain derogatory content is regularly and systematically communicated by slurs. So united, the theorists disagree sharply on the elements of this content, on its provenance, and on its mechanism. I argue that the basic premiss of all these views, that there is any such derogatory content conveyed with the use of slurs, is highly dubious.
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  • Slurs, Synonymy, and Taboo.Y. Sandy Berkovski - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
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  • Slurs, Neutral Counterparts, and What You Could Have Said.Arianna Falbo - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):359-375.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 62, Issue 4, Page 359-375, December 2021.
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  • Stand‐Up Comedy, Authenticity, and Assertion.Jesse Rappaport & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (4):477-490.
    Stand‐up comedy is often viewed in two contrary ways. In one view, comedians are hailed as providing genuine social insight and telling truths. In the other, comedians are seen as merely trying to entertain and not to be taken seriously. This tension raises a foundational question for the aesthetics of stand‐up: Do stand‐up comedians perform genuine assertions in their performances? This article considers this question in the light of several theories of assertion. We conclude that comedians on stage do not (...)
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  • Slurs and Register: A Case Study in Meaning Pluralism.Justina Diaz-Legaspe, Chang Liu & Robert J. Stainton - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182.
    Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that usually includes [+slang] and [+vulgar] and always (...)
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  • Meaning and Emotion.Constant Bonard - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Genève
    This dissertation may be divided into two parts. The first part is about the Extended Gricean Model of information transmission. This model, introduced here, is meant to better explain how humans communicate and understand each other. It has been developed to apply to cases that were left unexplained by the two main models of communication found in contemporary philosophy and linguistics, i.e. the Gricean model and the code model. In particular, I show that these latter two models cannot apply to (...)
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  • Expressivism and the Offensiveness of Slurs.Robin Jeshion - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):231-259.
  • An Indexical Theory of Racial Pejoratives.Michael Scott & Graham Stevens - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (4):385-404.
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  • The Pragmatics of Slurs.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2017 - Noûs 51 (3):439-462.
    I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term. Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints on (...)
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  • Political Vandalism as Counter‐Speech: A Defense of Defacing and Destroying Tainted Monuments.Ten‐Herng Lai - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):602-616.
    Tainted political symbols ought to be confronted, removed, or at least recontextualized. Despite the best efforts to achieve this, however, official actions on tainted symbols often fail to take place. In such cases, I argue that political vandalism—the unauthorized defacement, destruction, or removal of political symbols—may be morally permissible or even obligatory. This is when, and insofar as, political vandalism serves as fitting counter-speech that undermines the authority of tainted symbols in ways that match their publicity, refuses to let them (...)
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  • What’s Wrong with Dogwhistles.Carlos Santana - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Slurs, Interpellation, and Ideology.Rebecca Kukla - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (S1):7-32.
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  • Racist Humor.Luvell Anderson - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (8):501-509.
    In this brief essay, I will lay out the philosophical landscape concerning theories of racist humor. First, I mention some preliminary issues that bear on the question of what makes a joke racist. Next, I briefly survey some of the views philosophers have offered on racist humor, and on a view of sexist humor that is relevant for this discussion. I then suggest the debates could benefit from moving beyond the racist/non-racist binary most views presuppose. Finally, I conclude with suggestions (...)
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  • The Derogatory Force and the Offensiveness of Slurs.Chang Liu - 2021 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 28 (3):626–649.
    Slurs are both derogatory and offensive, and they are said to exhibit “derogatory force” and “offensiveness.” Almost all theories of slurs, except the truth-conditional content theory and the invocational content theory, conflate these two features and use “derogatory force” and “offensiveness” interchangeably. This paper defends and explains the distinction between slurs’ derogatory force and offensiveness by fulfilling three goals. First, it distinguishes between slurs’ being derogatory and their being offensive with four arguments. For instance, ‘Monday’, a slur in the Bostonian (...)
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  • Loaded Words: On the Semantics and Pragmatics of Slurs.Kent Bach - 2018 - In David Sosa (ed.), Bad Words: Philosophical Perspectives on Slurs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 60-76.
    There are many mean and nasty things to say about mean and nasty talk, but I don't plan on saying any of them. There's a specific problem about slurring words that I want to address. This is a semantic problem. It's not very important compared to the real-world problems presented by bigotry, racism, discrimination, and worse. It's important only to linguistics and the philosophy of language.
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  • Rethinking Slurs: A Case Against Neutral Counterparts and the Introduction of Referential Flexibility.Alice Damirjian - 2021 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 28 (3):650-671.
    Slurs are pejorative expressions that derogate individuals or groups on the basis of their gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation and so forth. In the constantly growing literature on slurs, it has become customary to appeal to so-called “neutral counterparts” for explaining the extension and truth-conditional content of slurring terms. More precisely, it is commonly assumed that every slur shares its extension and literal content with a non-evaluative counterpart term. I think this assumption is unwarranted and, in this paper, I (...)
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  • Peyorativos de Grupo Y Discurso de Odio.Nicolás Lo Guercio - 2021 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 62 (150):747-776.
    RESUMEN El artículo presenta una semántica multidimensional para los peyorativos de grupo de acuerdo con la cual estos codifican un contenido descriptivo y un contenido peyorativo implicaturado convencionalmente. A diferencia de otras propuestas en la misma línea, se argumenta que el contenido peyorativo es una propiedad, y no una proposición. A partir de un marco pragmático dinámico, se argumenta que el uso de un peyorativo de grupo instancia dos fuerzas discursivas, esto es, actualiza dos componentes del contexto conversacional. El contenido (...)
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  • Exactly Why Are Slurs Wrong?Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 84:13-29.
    This article, part of a special issue on 'Expressing Hatred', seeks to provide a comprehensive and fundamental account of why racial epithets and similar slurs are immoral, whenever they are. It considers three major theories, roughly according to which they are immoral because they are harmful (welfarism), because they undermine autonomy (Kantianism), or because they are unfriendly (an under-considered, relational approach informed by ideas from the Global South). This article presents new objections to the former two theories, and concludes in (...)
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  • Semantic Contestations and the Meaning of Politically Significant Terms.Deborah Mühlebach - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):788-817.
    In recent discussions on the meaning of derogatory terms, most theorists base their investigations on the assumption that slurring terms could in principle have some neutral, i.e. purely descriptive, counterpart. Lauren Ashwell has recently shown that this assumption does not generalize to gendered slurs. This paper aims to challenge the point and benefit of approaching the meaning of derogatory terms in contrast to their allegedly purely descriptive counterparts. I argue that different discursive practices among different communities of practice sometimes change (...)
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  • On an Alleged Case of Propaganda: Reply to McKinnon.Sophie R. Allen, Elizabeth Finneron-Burns, Mary Leng, Holly Lawford-Smith, Jane Clare Jones, Rebecca Reilly-Cooper & R. J. Simpson - manuscript
    In her recent paper ‘The Epistemology of Propaganda’ Rachel McKinnon discusses what she refers to as ‘TERF propaganda’. We take issue with three points in her paper. The first is her rejection of the claim that ‘TERF’ is a misogynistic slur. The second is the examples she presents as commitments of so-called ‘TERFs’, in order to establish that radical (and gender critical) feminists rely on a flawed ideology. The third is her claim that standpoint epistemology can be used to establish (...)
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  • When is It Ok to Call Someone a Jerk? An Experimental Investigation of Expressives.Bianca Cepollaro, Filippo Domaneschi & Isidora Stojanovic - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9273-9292.
    We present two experimental studies on the Italian expressive ‘stronzo’. The first study tests whether, and to which extent, the acceptability of using an expressive is sensitive to the information available in the context. The study looks both at referential uses of expressives and predicative uses of expressives. The results show that expressives are sensitive to contextual information to a much higher degree than the non-expressive control items in their referential use, but also, albeit to a lesser degree, in their (...)
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  • Appropriate Slurs.Ralph DiFranco - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (3):371-384.
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