Pejorative Discourse is not Fictional


Authors
Teresa Marques
Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract
Hom and May (2015) argue that pejoratives mean negative prescriptive properties that externally depend on social ideologies, and that this entails a form of fictionalism: pejoratives have null extensions. There are relevant uses of fictional terms that are necessary to describe the content of fictions, and to make true statements about the world, that do not convey that speakers are committed to the fiction. This paper shows that the same constructions with pejoratives typically convey that the speaker is committed to racist ideologies, in contrast with fictional discourse that typically does not. The disanalogy undermines the plausibility of fictionalism about pejoratives. Moreover, the exceptions—uncommitted uses in embedded constructions—display features that conflict with Hom and May's explanation of committed uses as conversational implicatures.
Keywords Pejoratives  Fictionalism  Nonderogatory uses  Conversational implicature  Blameworthiness
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1002/tht3.258
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