Agency, Power, and Injustice in Metalinguistic Disagreement

Philosophical Quarterly 72 (2):1- 24 (2022)
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Abstract

In this paper, I explain the kinematics of non-ideal metalinguistic disagreement. This occurs when one speaker has greater control in the joint activity of pairing contents with words in a context. I argue that some forms of non-ideal metalinguistic disagreement are deeply worrying, namely those that involves certain power imbalances. In such cases, a speaker possesses illegitimate control in metalinguistic disagreement owing to the operation of identity prejudice. I call this metalinguistic injustice. The wrong involves restricting a speaker from participating in the processes that determine the epistemic/linguistic resources of a conversation, and/or undermining a speaker's ability to affect metalinguistic outcomes.

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