The Pragmatics of Slurs

Noûs 51 (3):439-462 (2017)
Authors
Renee Bolinger
Australian National University
Abstract
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 an account of the semantics of slurs, this suggests that we should not require semantic accounts to provide an independent explanation of the offense profile.
Keywords semantics  slurs  pragmatics  cooccurrence  impoliteness  offensiveness  slurring  language  pejorative  contrastive
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1111/nous.12090
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References found in this work BETA

When Truth Gives Out.Mark Richard - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Slurring Words.Luvell Anderson & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):25-48.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Injustice in Social Cognition.Wesley Buckwalter - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
What Counts as an Insult?Ivan Milić - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (4):539-552.

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