Epistemic Slurs: A Novel Explicandum and Adequacy Constraint for Slur Theories

Erkenntnis:1-18 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
I argue that there are slurs that are distinctly derogatory insofar as they only derogate their target’s epistemic faculties or capacities qua group member. I call these slurs epistemic slurs. Given that slur theories should explain the derogatory nature of all slurs, any comprehensive slur theory should be able to explain the derogatory nature of the epistemic slurs. I argue, however, that two particular expressivist theories of slurs cannot explain their distinctive derogatory nature. The epistemic slurs thus constitute a novel explanatory problem for these expressivist slur theories. Yet I argue that a semantic theory of slurs, combinatorial externalism, can explain the distinctive derogatory nature of the epistemic slurs in which case these slurs constitute a novel explanatory advantage for combinatorial externalism. Whether the epistemic slurs constitute a novel explanatory problem or advantage for any other slur theories remains to be seen.
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Archival date: 2021-06-07
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