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  1. Pejoratives & Oughts.Teresa Marques - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):1109-1125.
    Chris Hom argued that slurs and pejoratives semantically express complex negative prescriptive properties, which are determined in virtue of standing in external causal relations to social ideologies and practices. He called this view Combinatorial Externalism. Additionally, he argued that Combinatorial Externalism entailed that slurs and pejoratives have null extensions. In this paper, I raise an objection that has not been raised in the literature so far. I argue that semantic theories like Hom’s are forced to choose between two alternatives: either (...)
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  • Amelioration Vs. Perversion.Teresa Marques - 2020 - In Teresa Marques & Asa Maria Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    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. (...)
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  • Inescapable Articulations: Vessels of Lexical Effects.Una Stojnic & Ernie LePore - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • Slurs and Antipresuppositions.Nicolás Lo Guercio - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (2):377-400.
    It has been observed that when there is competition between alternative sentences with different presuppositional strength, use of the weaker alternative triggers an inference, sometimes called an antipresupposition, to the effect that the presupposition of the stronger alternative is not satisfied. Furthermore, it has been argued that in order to account for antipresuppositions, it is necessary to postulate an independent pragmatic principle called Maximize Presupposition!, which states that the sentence with the stronger presupposition should be preferred whenever its presupposition is (...)
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  • Slurs and Semantic Indeterminacy.Giuliano Torrengo - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1617-1627.
    The analysis of the derogatory aspect of slurs has recently aroused interest among philosophers of language. A puzzling element of it is its erratic behaviour in embeddings, for instance negation or belief reports. The derogatory aspect seems sometimes to “scope out” from the embedding to the context of utterance, while at other times it seems to interact with the linguistic constructions in which the slur is implanted. I argue that slurs force us to maintain a kind of semantic indeterminacy which, (...)
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  • What’s Wrong with Truth-Conditional Accounts of Slurs.Bianca Cepollaro & Tristan Thommen - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (4):333-347.
    The aim of this paper is to provide arguments based on linguistic evidence that discard a truth-conditional analysis of slurs and pave the way for more promising approaches. We consider Hom and May’s version of TCA, according to which the derogatory content of slurs is part of their truth-conditional meaning such that, when slurs are embedded under semantic operators such as negation, there is no derogatory content that projects out of the embedding. In order to support this view, Hom and (...)
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  • Grounding Thick Normative Facts.Justin Morton - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):408-431.
    Many philosophers have been concerned with the nature of thick normative concepts. In this paper, I try to motivate a different project: understanding the nature of thick normative properties and facts. I propose a ground-theoretic approach to this project. I then argue that some of the simplest and most initially plausible ways of understanding thick facts fail, and that we are forced to accept some initially implausible views. I try to show how these views are not so implausible after all.
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  • On Linguistic Evidence for Expressivism.Andrés Soria Ruiz & Isidora Stojanovic - 2019 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 86:155-180.
    This paper argues that there is a class of terms, or uses of terms, that are best accounted for by an expressivist account. We put forward two sets of criteria to distinguish between expressive and factual terms. The first set relies on the action-guiding nature of expressive language. The second set relies on the difference between one's evidence for making an expressive vs. factual statement. We then put those criteria to work to show, first, that the basic evaluative adjectives such (...)
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  • Meaning and Emotion.Constant Bonard - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Genève
    This dissertation may be divided into two parts. The first part is about the Extended Gricean Model of information transmission. This model, introduced here, is meant to better explain how humans communicate and understand each other. It has been developed to apply to cases that were left unexplained by the two main models of communication found in contemporary philosophy and linguistics, i.e. the Gricean model and the code model. In particular, I show that these latter two models cannot apply to (...)
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  • Separating the Evaluative From the Descriptive: An Empirical Study of Thick Concepts.Pascale Willemsen & Kevin Reuter - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):135-146.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Slurs and Expressive Commitments.Leopold Hess - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (2):263-290.
    Most accounts of the derogatory meaning of slurs are semantic. Recently, Nunberg proposed a purely pragmatic account offering a compelling picture of the relation between derogatory content and social context. Nunberg posits that the semantic content of slurs is identical to that of neutral counterparts, and that derogation is a result of the association of slur use with linguistic conventions of bigoted speakers. The mechanism responsible for it is a special kind of conversational implicature. However, this paper argues that Nunberg’s (...)
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  • Slurs and Expressive Commitments.Leopold Hess - 2020 - Acta Analytica (2):1-28.
    Most accounts of the derogatory meaning of slurs are semantic. Recently, Nunberg proposed a purely pragmatic account offering a compelling picture of the relation between derogatory content and social context. Nunberg posits that the semantic content of slurs is identical to that of neutral counterparts, and that derogation is a result of the association of slur use with linguistic conventions of bigoted speakers. The mechanism responsible for it is a special kind of conversational implicature. However, this paper argues that Nunberg’s (...)
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  • Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    [First published 09/2016; substantive revision 02/2021.] Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: (...)
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  • Metalinguistic Negotiations and Two Senses of Taste.David Bordonaba-Plou - 2021 - Diametros 18 (67):1-20.
    This paper defends the claim that the traditional Kantian division between two different types of judgments, judgments of personal preference and judgments of taste, does not apply to some contexts in which metalinguistic negotiations take place. To begin, I first highlight some significant similarities between predicates of personal taste and aesthetic predicates. I sustain that aesthetic predicates are gradable and multidimensional, and that they often produce metalinguistic negotiations, characteristics that have motivated an individual treatment for predicates of personal taste. Secondly, (...)
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  • The Worst and the Best of Propaganda.Bianca Cepollaro & Giuliano Torrengo - 2018 - Disputatio 1 (51):289-303.
    In this paper we discuss two issues addressed by Stanley in How Propaganda Works: the status of slurs (Section 1) and the notion of positive propaganda (Section 2). In particular, in Section 1 we argue contra Stanley that code words like ‘welfare’ are crucially different from slurs in that the association between the lexical item and an additional social meaning is not as systematic as it is for slurs. In this sense, slurs bring about a special kind of propagandistic effect, (...)
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  • Wyrażenia ocenne – próba klasyfikacji.Natalia Karczewska - 2016 - Studia Semiotyczne 30 (2):129-153.
    W niniejszym artykule proponuję pewną klasyfikację wyrażeń ocennych. Uznaję, że podstawowym kryterium odróżnienia ich od wyrażeń deskryptywnych jest test bezbłędnej niezgody. Następnie omawiam kilka zjawisk, które mogłyby podawać w wątpliwość linię tego podziału: zależność kontekstową, nieostrość i używanie wyrażeń deskryptywnych do wyrażania sądów ocennych. Przytaczam propozycję Christophera Kennedy’ego, zgodnie z którą przymiotniki stopniowalne mogą wyrażać dwa rodzaje subiektywności. Modyfikuję to stanowisko przez postulat wyróżnienia dodatkowego podrodzaju wyrażeń subiektywnych, które nie są ocenne i proponuję test językowy, który pozwala je identyfikować. W (...)
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  • Semantic Innocence and Kaplanian Inferences.Pasi Valtonen - 2019 - SATS 20 (1):19-33.
    The core of Christopher Hom and Robert May’s semantic innocence is the thesis that ethnic slurs have empty extensions. Thereby, a slurring term makes any non-negated slurring sentence false. At the same time, Hom and May emphasise that the most important task in the study of slurs is to explain non-xenophobic understanding of slurs. In this paper, I argue that there is a conflict between the two claims. I show this with Kaplanian inferences, which, in my view, are crucial for (...)
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  • 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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  • Evaluative Adjectives – an Attempt at a Classification.Natalia Karczewska - 2017 - Studia Semiotyczne—English Supplement 29:180-200.
    In my paper, I propose a certain classification of evaluative expressions. I hypothesize that the basic criterion to distinguish between evaluative and descriptive terms is the faultless disagreement test. Next, I discuss a few kinds of phenomena which seem to render this distinction dubious: context–sensitivity, vagueness and using descriptive terms to express evaluative judgments. Further, I investigate Ch. Kennedy’s proposal according to which gradable adjectives can express two kinds of subjectivity. I modify this account by postulating another sub-class of subjective (...)
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  • Pejorative Discourse is Not Fictional.Teresa Marques - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy (4):1-14.
    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 (...)
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