A puzzle about pejoratives

Philosophical Studies 159 (3):383-405 (2012)
Authors
Christopher Hom
Texas Tech University
Abstract
Pejoratives are the class of expressions that are meant to insult or disparage. They include swear words and slurs. These words allow speakers to convey emotional states beyond the truth-conditional contents that they are normally taken to encode. The puzzle arises because, although pejoratives seem to be a semantically unified class, some of their occurrences are best accounted for truth-conditionally, while others are best accounted for non-truth-conditionally. Where current, non-truth-conditional, views in the literature fail to provide a unified solution for the puzzle, this paper motivates a novel, semantic, analysis of pejorative language. The significance of the proposed solution is not only linguistic in nature, but also philosophical, as it both provides a new argument for, and sheds further light on, the nature of semantic externalism
Keywords Philosophy of language  Pejoratives  Expressive language  Semantics  Pragmatics
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9749-7
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Citations of this work BETA

Slurs, Roles and Power.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt & Jeremy L. Wyatt - 2017 - Philosophical Studies:1-28.
Moral and Semantic Innocence.Christopher Hom & Robert May - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):293-313.
Pejoratives.Christopher Hom - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):164-185.

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