Contested slurs : Delimiting the linguistic community

Journal article


Bolinger, Renee. (2020). Contested slurs : Delimiting the linguistic community. Grazer Philosophische Studien. 97(1), pp. 11-30. https://doi.org/10.1163/18756735-09701003
AuthorsBolinger, Renee
Abstract

Sometimes speakers within a linguistic community use a term that they do not conceptualize as a slur, but which other members of that community do. Sometimes these speakers are ignorant or naïve, but not always. This article explores a puzzle raised when some speakers stubbornly maintain that a contested term t is not derogatory. Because the semantic content of a term depends on the language, to say that their use of t is semantically derogatory despite their claims and intentions, we must individuate languages in a way that counts them as speaking our language L, assigns t a determinately derogatory content in L, and still accommodates the other features of slurs’ linguistic profile. Given the difficulty of doing this, there is some reason to give a non-semantic analysis of the derogatory aspect of slurs. The author suggests that rather than dismissing the stubborn as semantically incompetent, we would do better to appeal to expected uptake as moral reasons for the stubborn to adjust their linguistic practices.

Keywordsslurs; disagreement; derogatory terms; linguistic community
Year2020
JournalGrazer Philosophische Studien
Journal citation97 (1), pp. 11-30
PublisherBrill
ISSN0165-9227
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1163/18756735-09701003
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85082747864
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range11-30
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online04 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Jul 2021
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