Slurs, Assertion, and Predication

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Abstract

A multidimensional account of the meanings of slurs holds that a slur has both literal, truth-conditional content (which is neutral) and conventional implicature (which is derogatory). This paper offers a careful examination of the motivations and commitments for a multidimensional account and argues that the theoretic costs for such a view are prohibitive. One of the primary motivations for a multidimensional account over a purely truth-conditional account is the apparent wide-scoping phenomenon of slurs (e.g. that derogatory content does not seem cancellable under negation). The paper argues that carefully distinguishing between predication and assertion not only dispels the misconception that the phenomena in question is centrally about scope but also vindicates the purely truth-conditional account as a more general and unified explanation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSlurs, Assertion, and Predication
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190675233
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

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