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  1. The Language of Mental Illness.Renee Bolinger - forthcoming - In Justin Khoo & Rachel Katharine Sterken (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
    This paper surveys some philosophical issues with the language surrounding mental illness, but is especially focused on pejoratives relating to mental illness. I argue that though 'crazy' and similar mental illness-based epithets (MI-epithets) are not best understood as slurs, they do function to isolate, exclude, and marginalize members of the targeted group in ways similar to the harmfulness of slurs more generally. While they do not generally express the hate/contempt characteristic of weaponized uses of slurs, MI-epithets perpetuate epistemic injustice by (...)
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  2. More on Pejorative Language: Insults That Go Beyond Their Extension.Elena Castroviejo, Katherine Fraser & Agustín Vicente - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    Slurs have become a big topic of discussion both in philosophy and in linguistics. Slurs are usually characterised as pejorative terms, co-extensional with other, neutral, terms referring to ethnic or social groups. However, slurs are not the only ethnic/social words with pejorative senses. Our aim in this paper is to introduce a different kind of pejoratives, which we will call “ethnic/social terms used as insults” (ESTIs), as exemplified in (European) Spanish, though present in many other languages and mostly absent in (...)
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  3. Slurs, Neutral Counterparts, and What You Could Have Said.Arianna Falbo - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy 1.
    Recent pragmatic accounts of slurs argue that the offensiveness of slurs is generated by a speaker's free choice to use a slur opposed to a more appropriate and semantically equivalent neutral counterpart. I argue that the theoretical role of neutral counterparts on such views is overstated. I consider two recent pragmatic analyses, Bolinger (2017) and Nunberg (2018), which rely heavily upon the optionality of slurs, namely, that a speaker exercises a deliberate lexical choice to use a slur when they could (...)
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  4. Meaning and Racial Slurs: Derogatory Epithets and the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.Joseph A. Hedger - forthcoming - Language and Communication.
    The semantics of racial slurs has recently become a locus of debate amongst philosophers. While everyone agrees that slurs are offensive, there is disagreement about the linguistic mechanism responsible for this offensiveness. This paper places the debate about racial slurs into the context of a larger issue concerning the interface between semantics and pragmatics, and argues that even on minimalist assumptions, the offensiveness of slur words is more plausibly due to their semantic content rather than any pragmatic mechanism. Finally, I (...)
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  5. Slurs as Illocutionary Force Indicators.Chang Liu - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-15.
    Slurs are derogatory words and they are used to derogate certain groups. Theories of slurs must explain why they are derogatory words, as well as other features like independence and descriptive ineffability. This paper proposes an illocutionary force indicator theory of slurs: they are derogatory terms because their use is to perform the illocutionary act of derogation, which is a declarative illocutionary act to enforce norms against the target. For instance, calling a Chinese person “chink” is an act of derogation (...)
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  6. A Rich-Lexicon Theory of Slurs and Their Uses.Dan Zeman - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I present data involving the use of the Romanian slur "țigan", consideration of which leads to the postulation of a sui-generis, irreducible type of use of slurs ("identificatory"). This type of use is potentially problematic for extant theories of slurs. In addition, together with other well-established uses (derogatory, appropriated etc.), it shows that there is more variation in the use of slurs than previously acknowledged. I explain this variation by construing slurs as polysemous. To implement this idea, (...)
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  7. Contested Slurs.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (1):11-30.
    Sometimes speakers within a linguistic community use a term that they do not conceptualize as a slur, but which other members of that community do. Sometimes these speakers are ignorant or naïve, but not always. This article explores a puzzle raised when some speakers stubbornly maintain that a contested term t is not derogatory. Because the semantic content of a term depends on the language, to say that their use of t is semantically derogatory despite their claims and intentions, we (...)
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  8. Editors’ Introduction: The Challenge From Non-Derogatory Uses of Slurs.Bianca Cepollaro & Dan Zeman - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (1):1-10.
    The Introduction to "Non-Derogatory Uses of Slurs", special issue of Grazer Philosophische Studien.
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  9. Slurs and Register: A Case Study in Meaning Pluralism.Justina Diaz‐Legaspe, Chang Liu & Robert J. Stainton - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182.
    Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that usually includes [+slang] and [+vulgar] and always (...)
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  10. Really Expressive Presuppositions and How to Block Them.Teresa Marques & Manuel García-Carpintero - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (1):138-158.
    Kaplan (1999) argued that a different dimension of expressive meaning (“use-conditional”, as opposed to truth-conditional) is required to characterize the meaning of pejoratives, including slurs and racial epithets. Elaborating on this, writers have argued that the expressive meaning of pejoratives and slurs is either a conventional implicature (Potts 2007) or a presupposition (Macià 2002 and 2014, Schlenker 2007, Cepollaro and Stojanovic 2016). We argue that an expressive presuppositional theory accounts well for the data, but that expressive presuppositions are not just (...)
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  11. Slurs, Pejoratives, and Hate Speech.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2020 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
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  12. Slurs and the Type-Token Distinction of Their Derogatory Force.Chang Liu - 2019 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 13 (2):63-72.
    Slurs are derogatory, and theories of slurs aim at explaining their “derogatory force”. This paper draws a distinction between the type derogatory force and the token derogatory force of slurs. To explain the type derogatory force is to explain why a slur is a derogatory word. By contrast, to explain the token derogatory force is to explain why an utterance of a slur is derogatory. This distinction will be defended by examples in which the type and the token derogatory force (...)
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  13. An Essentialist Theory of the Meaning of Slurs.Eleonore Neufeld - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    In this paper, I develop an essentialist model of the semantics of slurs. I defend the view that slurs are a species of kind terms: Slur concepts encode mini-theories which represent an essence-like element that is causally connected to a set of negatively-valenced stereotypical features of a social group. The truth-conditional contribution of slur nouns can then be captured by the following schema: For a given slur S of a social group G and a person P, S is true of (...)
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  14. Normalizing Slurs and Out‐Group Slurs: The Case of Referential Restriction.Justina Diaz Legaspe - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (2):234-255.
    The relation between slurs and their neutral counterparts has been put into question recently by the fact that some slurs can be used to refer to subsets of the referential classes determined by their associated counterparts. This paper aims to reinforce this relation by offering a way of explaining referential restriction that distinguishes between two kinds of slurs: those performing a normalizing role upon (some) individuals inside a class (mostly, a gender) and those used to derogate a marginalized out- group.
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  15. The Social Life of Slurs.Geoffrey Nunberg - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.
    The words we call slurs are just plain vanilla descriptions like ‘cowboy’ and ‘coat hanger’. They don't semantically convey any disparagement of their referents, whether as content, conventional implicature, presupposition, “coloring” or mode of presentation. What distinguishes 'kraut' and 'German' is metadata rather than meaning: the former is the conventional description for Germans among Germanophobes when they are speaking in that capacity, in the same way 'mad' is the conventional expression that some teenagers use as an intensifier when they’re emphasizing (...)
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  16. Slurs, Roles and Power.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt & Jeremy L. Wyatt - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2879-2906.
    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 (...)
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  17. The Pragmatics of Slurs.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2017 - Noûs 51 (3):439-462.
    I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term. Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints on (...)
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  18. Not All Slurs Are Equal.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2016 - Phenomenology and Mind 11:150-156.
    Slurs are typically defined as conveying contempt based on group-membership. However, here I argue that they are not a unitary group. First, I describe two dimensions of variation among derogatives: how targets are identified, and how offensive the term is. This supports the typical definition of slurs as opposed to other derogatives. I then highlight problems with this definition, mainly caused by variable offence across slur words. In the process I discuss how major theories of slurs can account for variable (...)
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  19. In Defense of a Presuppositional Account of Slurs.Bianca Cepollaro - 2015 - Language Sciences 52:36-45.
    Abstract In the last fifteen years philosophers and linguists have turned their attention to slurs: derogatory expressions that target certain groups on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and so on. This interest is due to the fact that, on the one hand, slurs possess puzzling linguistic properties; on the other hand, the questions they pose are related to other crucial issues, such as the descriptivism/expressivism divide, the semantics/pragmatics divide and, generally speaking, the theory of meaning. Despite these (...)
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  20. The Semantics of Slurs: A Refutation of Coreferentialism.Adam M. Croom - 2015 - Ampersand: An International Journal of General and Applied Linguistics 2:30-38.
    Coreferentialism refers to the common assumption in the literature that slurs and descriptors are coreferential expressions with precisely the same extension. For instance, Vallee recently writes that “If S is an ethnic slur in language L, then there is a non-derogatory expression G in L such that G and S have the same extension”. The non-derogatory expression G is commonly considered the nonpejorative correlate of the slur expression S and it is widely thought that every S has a coreferring G (...)
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  21. Slurs, Stereotypes, and in-Equality: A Critical Review of “How Epithets and Stereotypes Are Racially Unequal”.Adam M. Croom - 2015 - Language Sciences 52:139-154.
    Are racial slurs always offensive and are racial stereotypes always negative? How, if at all, are racial slurs and stereotypes different and unequal for members of different races? Questions like these and others about slurs and stereotypes have been the focus of much research and hot debate lately, and in a recent article Embrick and Henricks aimed to address some of the aforementioned questions by investigating the use of racial slurs and stereotypes in the workplace. Embrick and Henricks drew upon (...)
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  22. INDIRECT REPORTS, SLURS, AND THE POLYPHONIC SPEAKER.Capone Alessandro - 2014 - Reti, Saperi, Linguaggi: Italian Journal of Cognitive Sciences 2:301-318.
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  23. The Semantics of Slurs: A Refutation of Pure Expressivism.Adam M. Croom - 2014 - Language Sciences 41:227-242.
    In several recent contributions to the growing literature on slurs, Hedger draws upon Kaplan’s distinction between descriptive and expressive content to argue that slurs are expressions with purely expressive content. The distinction between descriptive and expressive content and the view that slurs are expressions with purely expressive content has been widely acknowledged in prior work, and Hedger aims to contribute to this tradition of scholarship by offering novel arguments in support of his ‘‘pure expressivist’’ account of slurs. But the account (...)
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  24. Remarks on The Semantics of Racial Slurs.Adam M. Croom - 2014 - Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 13:11-32.
    In “The Semantics of Racial Slurs,” an article recently published in Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, Hedger draws upon Kaplan’s distinction between descriptive and expressive content to argue that slurs are expressions with purely expressive content. Here I review the key considerations presented by Hedger in support of his purely expressive account of slurs and provide clear reasons for why it must ultimately be rejected. After reviewing the key cases Hedger offers for consideration in support of his view that slurs are (...)
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  25. Spanish Slurs and Stereotypes for Mexican-Americans in the USA: A Context-Sensitive Account of Derogation and Appropriation [Peyorativos y Estereotipos Para Los Mexicano-Americanos En EE. UU.: Una Consideración Contextual Del Uso Despectivo y de Apropiación].Adam M. Croom - 2014 - Pragmática Sociocultural 2 (2):145-179.
    Slurs such as spic, slut, wetback, and whore are linguistic expressions that are primarily understood to derogate certain group members on the basis of their descriptive attributes and expressions of this kind have been considered to pack some of the nastiest punches natural language affords. Although prior scholarship on slurs has uncovered several important facts concerning their meaning and use –including that slurs are potentially offensive, are felicitously applied towards some targets yet not others, and are often flexibly used not (...)
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  26. How to Do Things with Slurs: Studies in the Way of Derogatory Words.Adam M. Croom - 2013 - Language and Communication 33:177-204.
    This article provides an original account of slurs and how they may be differentially used by in-group and out-group speakers. Slurs are first distinguished from other terms and their role in social interaction is discussed. A new distinction is introduced between three different uses of slurs : the paradigmatic derogatory use, non-paradigmatic derogatory use, and non-paradigmatic non-derogatory use. I then account for their literal meaning and explain how a family-resemblance conception of category membership can clarify our understanding of the various (...)
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  27. Racial Epithets, Characterizations, and Slurs.Adam M. Croom - 2013 - Analysis and Metaphysics 12:11-24.
    Since at least 2008 linguists and philosophers of language have started paying more serious attention to issues concerning the meaning or use of racial epithets and slurs. In an influential article published in The Journal of Philosophy, for instance, Christopher Hom (2008) offered a semantic account of racial epithets called Combinatorial Externalism (CE) that advanced a novel argument for the exclusion of certain epithets from freedom of speech protection under the First Amendment (p. 435). Also in more recent work, “The (...)
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  28. The Semantics of Racial Slurs: Using Kaplan’s Framework to Provide a Theory of the Meaning of Derogatory Epithets.Joseph A. Hedger - 2012 - Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 11:74-84.
    In this paper I adopt Kaplan’s framework for distinguishing between descriptive and expressive content. Racial slurs are an especially difficult challenge for truth-conditional semantics because of their projection behaviors. That is to say, the offensive content of slurs “scopes out” of logical operators. I argue that racial slurs express contempt and lack descriptive content, so that many sentences containing slurs are not truth apt. My theory accounts for the intuition of the ordinary speaker who refuses to assent to the truth (...)
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  29. Slurs.Adam M. Croom - 2011 - Language Sciences 33:343-358.
    Slurs possess interesting linguistic properties and so have recently attracted the attention of linguists and philosophers of language. For instance the racial slur "nigger" is explosively derogatory, enough so that just hearing it mentioned can leave one feeling as if they have been made complicit in a morally atrocious act.. Indeed, the very taboo nature of these words makes discussion of them typically prohibited or frowned upon. Although it is true that the utterance of slurs is illegitimate and derogatory in (...)
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  30. Busting the Ghost of Neutral Counterparts.Jennifer Foster - unknown
    Philosophers have nearly universally assumed that some highly general semantic relationship obtains between slurs and so-called “neutral counterpart” terms. This assumption has been fleshed out in different ways. On all extant accounts, however, it implies an unmotivated distinction between paradigmatic slur/“neutral counterpart” pairs and many pairs that theorists haven’t considered, including `chick flick’/`romantic comedy’, `stoner’/`cannabis user’, and `liberal’/`libtard’. For pairs like these, the most intuitive theory of the target relationship involves overlap––both in (presumed) extension and associated stereotypes. Since (I argue) (...)
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