Slurs and Expressivity: Semantics and Beyond, edited by Eleonora Orlando and Andres Saab,focuses on the analysis of the expressive aspects of slur-words, namely, those words prima facie related to the conveyance of contemptuous or derogatory feelings for the members of a certain group of people identified in terms of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, political ideology, and other personal qualities. In as far as they are used to express emotional attitudes, slurs are, thus, a kind of expressive words. This collection provides different hypotheses regarding the way in which the expressive import of slurs and other related expressive words is semantically encoded in the grammar and how their meaning impacts other aspects related to their use in different practices of linguistic communication. These linguistic practices are usually, but not always, related to segregation and discrimination of particular human groups. Therefore, any contribution to the theory of slur meaning is, directly or indirectly, also a contribution to a better understanding of those practices and to finding the best way to eradicate them.
Eleonora Orlando is professor of philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires and researcher at the Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council.
Andrés Saab is professor of linguistics at the University of Buenos Aires and researcher at the Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council.
List of Tables and Figures
Chapter 1: Dualism and Monism in the Study of Slurs and Beyond
Eleonora Orlando and Andrés Saab
Chapter 2: On the Locus of Expressivity. Deriving Parallel Meaning Dimensions from Architectural Considerations
Chapter 3: The Discursive Dimension of Slurs
Nicolás Lo Guercio
Chapter 4: A Bidimensional Account of Slurs
Chapter 5: Expressives and the Theory of Bias
Ludovic Soutif and Carlos Márquez
Chapter 6: Taboo: The Case of Slurs
Chapter 7: Slurs, the Amoralist and the Expression of Hate
Justina Díaz Legaspe
Chapter 8: On the Moral Import of Using Slurs
Chapter 9: Sudaca. Slurs and Typifying
About the Contributors
The essays, most by Latin American scholars, are philosophical and linguistic studies representing a variety of theoretic orientations. What brings the essays together is the issue of what it means for a word to express a derogatory concept and how such meanings are reflected in use. The nine papers cover three broad areas. One is the separation of truth-conditions and reference from expressive force—the dualism of expressive terms. Another is the so-called hyper-expressivity of slurs, which refers to the way they retain their derogatory force across contexts. The third is the moral import of slurs and the independence of expressivity from attitude. Readers will require grounding in such concepts as truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional meaning, two-dimensional semantics, and conversational and conventional implicature, among others.… Slurs and Expressivity is an excellent contribution to the literature on philosophy of language[.] Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
This book will be a valuable addition to a timely, important topic. Perhaps more obviously and more pressingly than with other philosophical issues, the topic of slurs has a practical and social dimension. And it’s one of the virtues of this book that it broadens the sources of expert contributors on this topic, incorporating perspectives on slurs in other languages and used in other ethnic and international contexts. The book also has the virtue, more generally, of displaying—what should be more appreciated—the very high quality of philosophical work being done in Latin America.
This book is a valuable contribution to the expanding literature on slurs, collecting recent work by members of the philosophy of language group of the SADAF and invited researchers. The essays in the volume fit right into ongoing debates, tackling both foundational and applied issues. Thus, the contributors offer new insights into the semantics of slurs, propose new ways of dealing with some of the most pressing questions surrounding them (e.g., their hyper-projectability), and explore their relationship with broader moral, cultural, and social aspects. Among the nice features of the volume is that it features discussions of slurs from other languages than English (which has been the focus of most literature on slurs so far).