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Derogatory Terms: Racism, Sexism and the Inferential Role Theory of Meaning

In Kelly Oliver & Christina Hendricks (eds.), Language and Liberation: Feminism, Philosophy and Language,. SUNY Press (1999)

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  1. Semantic Contestations and the Meaning of Politically Significant Terms.Deborah Mühlebach - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-30.
    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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  • Slurs, Roles and Power.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt & Jeremy L. Wyatt - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2879-2906.
    Slurring is a kind of hate speech that has various effects. Notable among these is variable offence. Slurs vary in offence across words, uses, and the reactions of audience members. Patterns of offence aren’t adequately explained by current theories. We propose an explanation based on the unjust power imbalance that a slur seeks to achieve. Our starting observation is that in discourse participants take on discourse roles. These are typically inherited from social roles, but only exist during a discourse. A (...)
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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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  • Expressivism and the Offensiveness of Slurs.Robin Jeshion - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):231-259.
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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.
  • 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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