The semantics of racial slurs: Using kaplan’s framework to provide a theory of the meaning of derogatory epithets

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
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 of a sentence containing a slur, but accepts the same statement made using a neutral counterpart of that slur. Weaknesses of rival theories are briefly discussed
PhilPapers/Archive ID
HEDTSO
Revision history
Archival date: 2012-08-02
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Pragmatics of Slurs.Bolinger, Renée Jorgensen
The Social Life of Slurs.Nunberg, Geoffrey

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2012-08-02

Total views
1,142 ( #1,537 of 40,750 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
155 ( #2,498 of 40,750 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.