Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2879-2906 (2018)

Authors
Mihaela Popa-Wyatt
University of Manchester
Abstract
Slurring is a kind of hate speech that has various effects. Notable among these is variable offence. Slurs vary in offence across words, uses, and the reactions of audience members. Patterns of offence aren’t adequately explained by current theories. We propose an explanation based on the unjust power imbalance that a slur seeks to achieve. Our starting observation is that in discourse participants take on discourse roles. These are typically inherited from social roles, but only exist during a discourse. A slurring act is a speech-act that alters the discourse roles of the target and speaker. By assigning discourse roles the speaker unjustly changes the power balance in the dialogue. This has a variety of effects on the target and audience. We show how these notions explain all three types of offence variation. We also briefly sketch how a role and power theory can help explain silencing and appropriation. Explanatory power lies in the fact that offence is correlated with the perceived unjustness of the power imbalance created.
Keywords slurs  social and discourse roles  power  oppression  conversational exercitive  conversational score  accommodation  silencing  appropriation  variable offence
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-0986-2
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References found in this work BETA

Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
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Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts.Rae Langton - 1993 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (4):293-330.
Slurring Words.Luvell Anderson & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):25-48.

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Citations of this work BETA

Slurs as Illocutionary Force Indicators.Chang Liu - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):1051-1065.
Subject-Contextualism and the Meaning of Gender Terms.Dan Zeman - 2020 - Journal of Social Ontology 6 (1):69-83.
A Rich-Lexicon Theory of Slurs and Their Uses.Dan Zeman - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (7):942-966.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

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