In Teresa Marques & Asa Maria Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2020)

Authors
Teresa Marques
Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract
Words change meaning, usually in unpredictable ways. But some words’ meanings are revised intentionally. Revisionary projects are normally put forward in the service of some purpose – some serve specific goals of inquiry, and others serve ethical, political or social aims. Revisionist projects can ameliorate meanings, but they can also pervert. In this paper, I want to draw attention to the dangers of meaning perversions, and argue that the self-declared goodness of a revisionist project doesn’t suffice to avoid meaning perversions. The road to Hell, or to horrors on Earth, is paved with good intentions. Finally and more importantly, I want to demarcate what meaning perversions are. This, I hope, can help us assess the moral and political legitimacy of revisionary projects.
Keywords meaning revision  amelioration  perversion  harmful speech
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