Identity display: another motive for metalinguistic disagreement

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):861-882 (2021)
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ABSTRACT It has become standard to conceive of metalinguistic disagreement as motivated by a form of negotiation, aimed at reaching consensus because of the practical consequences of using a word with one content rather than another. This paper presents an alternative motive for expressing and pursuing metalinguistic disagreement. In using words with given criteria, we betray our location amongst social categories or groups. Because of this, metalinguistic disagreement can be used as a stage upon which to perform a social identity. The ways in which metalinguistic disagreements motivated in this way diverge in character from metalinguistic negotiations are described, as are several consequences of the existence of metalinguistic disagreements motivated in this way.

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Alex Davies
University of Tartu


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