Do Racists Speak Truly? On the Truth‐Conditional Content of Slurs

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):28-37 (2015)
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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 that encode truth-conditional content which does more than merely classify someone as a member of the target group, as well as slurs that denigrate by virtue of their iconicity



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Ralph DiFranco
University of South Dakota

Citations of this work

The Social Life of Slurs.Geoffrey Nunberg - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.
Busting the Ghost of Neutral Counterparts.Jen Foster - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 10 (42):1187-1242.

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Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
When Truth Gives Out.Mark Richard - 2008 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
What Metaphors Mean.Donald Davidson - 1978 - Critical Inquiry 5 (1):31-47.
What metaphors mean.Donald Davidson - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Arguing about language. New York: Routledge. pp. 31.

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