On Insults

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (4):510-524 (2018)
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Some bemoan the incivility of our times, while others complain that people have grown too quick to take offense. There is widespread disagreement about what counts as an insult and when it is appropriate to feel insulted. Here I propose a definition and a preliminary taxonomy of insults. Namely, I define insults as expressions of a lack of due regard. And I categorize insults by whether they are intended or unintended, acts or omissions, and whether they cause offense or not. Unintended insults are of particular concern since greater understanding may help us to avoid them. And insults by omission warrant special consideration because they suggest an interesting extension of Grice’s theory of conversational implicature.

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Helen Daly
Colorado College


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