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Slurs as Illocutionary Force Indicators

Philosophia 49 (3):1051-1065 (2020)

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  1. Foundations of Illocutionary Logic.John Rogers Searle & Daniel Vanderveken - 1985 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    This is a formal and systematic study of the logical foundations of speech act theory. The study of speech acts has been a flourishing branch of the philosophy of language and linguistics over the last two decades, and John Searle has of course himself made some of the most notable contributions to that study in the sequence of books Speech Acts, Expression and Meaning and Intentionality. In collaboration with Daniel Vanderveken he now presents the first formalised logic of a general (...)
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  • Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    Written in an outstandingly clear and lively style, this 1969 book provokes its readers to rethink issues they may have regarded as long since settled.
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  • Illocutionary Force and Semantic Content.Mitchell Green - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (5):435-473.
    Illocutionary force and semantic content are widely held to occupy utterly different categories in at least two ways: Any expression serving as an indicator of illocutionary force must be without semantic content, and no such expression can embed. A refined account of the force/content distinction is offered here that does the explanatory work that the standard distinction does, while, in accounting for the behavior of a range of parenthetical expressions, shows neither nor to be compulsory. The refined account also motivates (...)
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  • Expressivism and the Offensiveness of Slurs.Robin Jeshion - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):231-259.
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  • Slurs and Semantic Indeterminacy.Giuliano Torrengo - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1617-1627.
    The analysis of the derogatory aspect of slurs has recently aroused interest among philosophers of language. A puzzling element of it is its erratic behaviour in embeddings, for instance negation or belief reports. The derogatory aspect seems sometimes to “scope out” from the embedding to the context of utterance, while at other times it seems to interact with the linguistic constructions in which the slur is implanted. I argue that slurs force us to maintain a kind of semantic indeterminacy which, (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Pejoratives.Christopher Hom - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (3):383-405.
    Pejoratives are the class of expressions that are meant to insult or disparage. They include swear words and slurs. These words allow speakers to convey emotional states beyond the truth-conditional contents that they are normally taken to encode. The puzzle arises because, although pejoratives seem to be a semantically unified class, some of their occurrences are best accounted for truth-conditionally, while others are best accounted for non-truth-conditionally. Where current, non-truth-conditional, views in the literature fail to provide a unified solution for (...)
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  • The Pragmatics of Slurs.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2017 - Noûs 51 (3):439-462.
    I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term. Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints on (...)
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  • It’s Not What You Said, It’s the Way You Said It: Slurs and Conventional Implicatures.Daniel Whiting - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):364-377.
    In this paper, I defend against a number of criticisms an account of slurs, according to which the same semantic content is expressed in the use of a slur as is expressed in the use of its neutral counterpart, while in addition the use of a slur conventionally implicates a negative, derogatory attitude. Along the way, I criticise competing accounts of the semantics and pragmatics of slurs, namely, Hom's 'combinatorial externalism' and Anderson and Lepore's 'prohibitionism'.
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  • Moral and Semantic Innocence.Christopher Hom & Robert May - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (3):293-313.
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  • Slurs.Adam M. Croom - 2011 - Language Sciences 33:343-358.
    Slurs possess interesting linguistic properties and so have recently attracted the attention of linguists and philosophers of language. For instance the racial slur "nigger" is explosively derogatory, enough so that just hearing it mentioned can leave one feeling as if they have been made complicit in a morally atrocious act.. Indeed, the very taboo nature of these words makes discussion of them typically prohibited or frowned upon. Although it is true that the utterance of slurs is illegitimate and derogatory in (...)
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  • When Truth Gives Out.Mark Richard - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Is the point of belief and assertion invariably to think or say something true? Is the truth of a belief or assertion absolute, or is it only relative to human interests? Most philosophers think it incoherent to profess to believe something but not think it true, or to say that some of the things we believe are only relatively true. Common sense disagrees. It sees many opinions, such as those about matters of taste, as neither true nor false; it takes (...)
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  • Expressive Presuppositions.Philippe Schlenker - manuscript
    Potts (2005, 2007) has argued that expressives such as honky must be analyzed using an entirely new dimension of meaning. We explore a more conservative theory in which expressives are presuppositional expressions [Macià 2002] that are indexical and attitudinal (and sometimes shiftable): they predicate something of the mental state of the agent of the context (and this need not always be the agent of the actual context). Following Stalnaker’s recent work on informative presuppositions (2002), we argue that the presuppositions triggered (...)
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  • The Semantics of Racial Epithets.Christopher Hom - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (8):416-440.
    Racial epithets are derogatory expressions, understood to convey contempt toward their targets. But what do they actually mean, if anything? While the prevailing view is that epithets are to be explained pragmatically, I argue that a careful consideration of the data strongly supports a particular semantic theory. I call this view Combinatorial Externalism. CE holds that epithets express complex properties that are determined by the discriminatory practices and stereotypes of their corresponding racist institutions. Depending on the character of the institution, (...)
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  • Pejoratives.Christopher Hom - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):164-185.
    The norms surrounding pejorative language, such as racial slurs and swear words, are deeply prohibitive. Pejoratives are typically a means for speakers to express their derogatory attitudes. As these attitudes vary along many dimensions and magnitudes, they initially appear to be resistant to a truth-conditional, semantic analysis. The goal of the paper is to clarify the essential linguistic phenomena surrounding pejoratives, survey the logical space of explanatory theories, evaluate each with respect to the phenomena and provide a preliminary assessment of (...)
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  • What Kind of a Mistake is It to Use a Slur?Adam Sennet & David Copp - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):1079-1104.
    What accounts for the offensive character of pejoratives and slurs, words like ‘kike’ and ‘nigger’? Is it due to a semantic feature of the words or to a pragmatic feature of their use? Is it due to a violation of a group’s desires to not be called by certain terms? Is it due to a violation of etiquette? According to one kind of view, pejoratives and the non-pejorative terms with which they are related—the ‘neutral counterpart’ terms—have different meanings or senses, (...)
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  • Slurs, Roles and Power.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt & Jeremy L. Wyatt - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2879-2906.
    Slurring is a kind of hate speech that has various effects. Notable among these is variable offence. Slurs vary in offence across words, uses, and the reactions of audience members. Patterns of offence aren’t adequately explained by current theories. We propose an explanation based on the unjust power imbalance that a slur seeks to achieve. Our starting observation is that in discourse participants take on discourse roles. These are typically inherited from social roles, but only exist during a discourse. A (...)
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  • Meaning and Uselessness: How to Think About Derogatory Words.Jennifer Hornsby - 2001 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):128–141.
    Williams explains why there might have been some point to a linguistic approach in ethics. I suggest that there might be some point to paying attention to an ethical dimension in philosophy of language. I shall consider words that I label ‘derogatory’, and questions they raise about linguistic meaning.
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  • The Expressive Dimension.Christopher Potts - 2007 - Theoretical Linguistics 33 (2):165-198.
    Expressives like damn and bastard have, when uttered, an immediate and powerful impact on the context. They are performative, often destructively so. They are revealing of the perspective from which the utterance is made, and they can have a dramatic impact on how current and future utterances are perceived. This, despite the fact that speakers are invariably hard-pressed to articulate what they mean. I develop a general theory of these volatile, indispensable meanings. The theory is built around a class of (...)
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  • Genocidal Language Games.Lynne Tirrell - 2012 - In Ishani Maitra & Mary Kate McGowan (eds.), Speech and Harm: Controversies Over Free Speech. Oxford University Press. pp. 174--221.
    This chapter examines the role played by derogatory terms (e.g., ‘inyenzi’ or cockroach, ‘inzoka’ or snake) in laying the social groundwork for the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. The genocide was preceded by an increase in the use of anti-Tutsi derogatory terms among the Hutu. As these linguistic practices evolved, the terms became more openly and directly aimed at Tutsi. Then, during the 100 days of the genocide, derogatory terms and coded euphemisms were used to direct killers (...)
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  • Speech Acts.J. Searle - 1969 - Foundations of Language 11 (3):433-446.
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  • Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John R. Searle - 1972 - Mind 81 (323):458-468.
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