How can philosophy of language help us navigate the political news cycle?

In Elly Vintiadis (ed.), Philosophy by Women: 22 Philosophers Reflect on Philosophy and Its Value. New York: Routledge (2020)
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Abstract

In this chapter, I try to answer the above question, and another question that it presupposes: can philosophy of language help us navigate the political news cycle? A reader can be sceptical of a positive answer to the latter question; after all, citizens, political theorists, and journalists seem to be capable of following current politics and its coverage in the news, and there is no reason to think that philosophy of language in particular should be capable of helping people make sense and respond to the news. I will illustrate the application of philosophy of language to three contrasting strategies of political propaganda: dogwhistles, meaning perversions, and bald-faced lies. I hope that these help us see that philosophy of language can be a good tool in diagnosing demagoguery, and in resisting it.

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Teresa Marques
Universitat de Barcelona

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