•  2
    Slurs such as spic, slut, wetback, and whore are linguistic expressions that are primarily understood to derogate certain group members on the basis of their descriptive attributes and expressions of this kind have been considered to pack some of the nastiest punches natural language affords. Although prior scholarship on slurs has uncovered several important facts concerning their meaning and use –including that slurs are potentially offensive, are felicitously applied towards some targets yet …Read more
  •  20
    Recent research on the semantics and pragmatics of slurs has offered insight into several important facts concerning their meaning and use. However, prior work has unfortunately been restricted primarily to considerations of slurs that typically target females, homosexuals, and African Americans. This is problematic because such a narrowly focused attention to slurs in prior work has left theorizing of how slurs generally function relatively uninformed by facts of actual language use. As a resul…Read more
  •  34
    An introduction to the special issue on slurs
    Language Sciences 52 1-2. 2015.
    Welcome to this special issue of Language Sciences on slurs. The collection in this issue consists of 21 original research articles from seasoned scholars and exceptional students across the humanities and social sciences. These scholars come from backgrounds in linguistics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, and here they investigate the use of slurs in a variety of natural languages, including English, Croatian, Hebrew, Korean, and Portuguese. The topic of focus for this spe…Read more
  •  48
    Slurs such as chink and gook are linguistic expressions that are primarily used to derogate certain group members for their descriptive attributes (such as their ethnicity) and are often considered the most offensive of expressions. Recent work on the semantics and pragmatics of slurs has illuminated several important facts regarding their meaning and use – including that slurs are commonly understood to felicitously apply towards some targets yet not others, that slurs are among the most potent…Read more
  •  26189
    Slurs such as spic, slut, wetback, and whore are linguistic expressions that are primarily understood to derogate certain group members on the basis of their descriptive attributes and expressions of this kind have been considered to pack some of the nastiest punches natural language affords. Although prior scholarship on slurs has uncovered several important facts concerning their meaning and use –including that slurs are potentially offensive, are felicitously applied towards some targets yet …Read more
  •  337
    The semantics of slurs: A refutation of coreferentialism
    Ampersand: An International Journal of General and Applied Linguistics 2 30-38. 2015.
    Coreferentialism refers to the common assumption in the literature that slurs and descriptors are coreferential expressions with precisely the same extension. For instance, Vallee recently writes that “If S is an ethnic slur in language L, then there is a non-derogatory expression G in L such that G and S have the same extension”. The non-derogatory expression G is commonly considered the nonpejorative correlate of the slur expression S and it is widely thought that every S has a coreferring G t…Read more
  •  1205
    Embodying martial arts for mental health: Cultivating psychological wellbeing with martial arts practice
    Archives of Budo Science of Martial Arts and Extreme Sports 10 59-70. 2014.
    The question of what constitutes and facilitates mental health or psychological well-being has remained of great interest to martial artists and philosophers alike, and still endures to this day. Although important questions about well-being remain, it has recently been argued in the literature that a paradigmatic or prototypical case of human psychological well-being would characteristically consist of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Other scholarship h…Read more
  •  793
    The semantics of slurs: A refutation of pure expressivism
    Language Sciences 41 227-242. 2014.
    In several recent contributions to the growing literature on slurs, Hedger draws upon Kaplan’s distinction between descriptive and expressive content to argue that slurs are expressions with purely expressive content. The distinction between descriptive and expressive content and the view that slurs are expressions with purely expressive content has been widely acknowledged in prior work, and Hedger aims to contribute to this tradition of scholarship by offering novel arguments in support of his…Read more
  •  1476
    Remarks on The Semantics of Racial Slurs
    Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 13 11-32. 2014.
    In “The Semantics of Racial Slurs,” an article recently published in Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, Hedger draws upon Kaplan’s distinction between descriptive and expressive content to argue that slurs are expressions with purely expressive content. Here I review the key considerations presented by Hedger in support of his purely expressive account of slurs and provide clear reasons for why it must ultimately be rejected. After reviewing the key cases Hedger offers for consideratio…Read more
  •  736
    Slurs
    Language Sciences 33 343-358. 2011.
    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…Read more
  •  466
    This article provides a critical analysis of the situationist challenge against Aristotelian moral psychology. It first outlines the details and results from 4 paradigmatic studies in psychology that situationists have heavily drawn upon in their critique of the Aristotelian conception of virtuous characteristics, including studies conducted by Hartshorne and May (1928), Darley and Batson (1973), Isen and Levin (1972), and Milgram (1963). It then presents 10 problems with the way situationists h…Read more
  •  1237
    How to do things with slurs: Studies in the way of derogatory words
    Language and Communication 33 177-204. 2013.
    This article provides an original account of slurs and how they may be differentially used by in-group and out-group speakers. Slurs are first distinguished from other terms and their role in social interaction is discussed. A new distinction is introduced between three different uses of slurs : the paradigmatic derogatory use, non-paradigmatic derogatory use, and non-paradigmatic non-derogatory use. I then account for their literal meaning and explain how a family-resemblance conception of cate…Read more
  •  1160
    Wittgenstein, Kripke, and the rule following paradox
    Dialogue 52 (3): 103-109. 2010.
    In?201 of Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein puts forward his famous? rule - following paradox.? The paradox is how can one follow in accord with a rule? the applications of which are potentially infinite? when the instances from which one learns the rule and the instances in which one displays that one has learned the rule are only finite? How can one be certain of rule - following at all? In Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke concedes the skeptical position…Read more
  •  64
    In Flourish, the positive psychologist Seligman (2011) identifies five commonly recognized factors that are characteristic of human flourishing or well-being: (1) “positive emotion,” (2) “relationships,” (3) “engagement,” (4) “achievement,” and (5) “meaning” (p. 24). Although there is no settled set of necessary and sufficient conditions neatly circumscribing the bounds of human flourishing (Seligman, 2011), we would mostly likely consider a person that possessed high levels of these five factor…Read more
  •  437
    This special issue of Journal of Poetry Therapy focuses on the use of poetry and other forms of expressive writing to explore the transformative experiences of military veterans, and so in this article I discuss how the use of poetry, hip-hop, and philosophy positively influenced my life while I was serving in the United States Air Force (USAF) from 2000 through 2004. This article briefly reviews my reasons for enlisting and discusses the importance that poetry, hip-hop, and philosophy had for m…Read more
  •  1055
    Are racial slurs always offensive and are racial stereotypes always negative? How, if at all, are racial slurs and stereotypes different and unequal for members of different races? Questions like these and others about slurs and stereotypes have been the focus of much research and hot debate lately, and in a recent article Embrick and Henricks aimed to address some of the aforementioned questions by investigating the use of racial slurs and stereotypes in the workplace. Embrick and Henricks drew…Read more
  •  546
    Aesthetic non-cognitivists deny that aesthetic statements express genuinely aesthetic beliefs and instead hold that they work primarily to express something non-cognitive, such as attitudes of approval or disapproval, or desire. Non-cognitivists deny that aesthetic statements express aesthetic beliefs because they deny that there are aesthetic features in the world for aesthetic beliefs to represent. Their assumption, shared by scientists and theorists of mind alike, was that language-users poss…Read more
  •  388
    Music, neuroscience, and the psychology of wellbeing: A précis
    Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 2 (393): 393. 2012.
    In Flourish, the positive psychologist Martin Seligman (2011) identifies five commonly recognized factors that are characteristic of human flourishing or wellbeing: (1) “positive emotion,” (2) “relationships,” (3) “engagement,” (4) “achievement,” and (5) “meaning” (p. 24). Although there is no settled set of necessary and sufficient conditions neatly circumscribing the bounds of human flourishing (Seligman, 2011), we would mostly likely consider a person that possessed high levels of these five …Read more
  •  244
    Racial Epithets, Characterizations, and Slurs
    Analysis and Metaphysics 12 11-24. 2013.
    Since at least 2008 linguists and philosophers of language have started paying more serious attention to issues concerning the meaning or use of racial epithets and slurs. In an influential article published in The Journal of Philosophy, for instance, Christopher Hom (2008) offered a semantic account of racial epithets called Combinatorial Externalism (CE) that advanced a novel argument for the exclusion of certain epithets from freedom of speech protection under the First Amendment (p. 435). Al…Read more
  •  1115
    The practice of poetry and the psychology of well-being
    Journal of Poetry Therapy 28 21-41. 2015.
    In “Flourish,” the psychologist Martin Seligman proposed that psychological well-being consists of “PERMA: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.” Although the question of what constitutes flourishing or psychological well-being has been long debated among scholars, the recent literature has suggested that a paradigmatic or prototypical case of psychological well-being would manifest most or all of the aforementioned PERMA factors. The recent literature on poet…Read more
  •  661
    Thick Concepts, Non-Cognitivism, and Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Considerations
    South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (3): 286-309. 2010.
    Non-cognitivists claim that thick concepts can be disentangled into distinct descriptive and evaluative components and that since thick concepts have descriptive shape they can be mastered independently of evaluation. In Non-Cognitivism and Rule-Following, John McDowell uses Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations to show that such a non-cognitivist view is untenable. In this paper I do several things. I describe the non-cognitivist position in its various forms and explain its driving moti…Read more
  •  50
    Aristotelian Moral Psychology and the Situationist Challenge
    Polish Psychological Bulletin 46 262-277. 2015.
    For some time now moral psychologists and philosophers have ganged up on Aristotelians, arguing that results from psychological studies on the role of character-based and situation-based influences on human behavior have convincingly shown that situations rather than personal characteristics determine human behavior. In the literature on moral psychology and philosophy this challenge is commonly called the “situationist challenge,” and as Prinz has previously explained, it has largely been based…Read more
  •  2487
    In “Flourish,” Martin Seligman maintained that the elements of well-being consist of “PERMA: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.” Although the question of what constitutes human flourishing or psychological well-being has remained a topic of continued debate among scholars, it has recently been argued in the literature that a paradigmatic or prototypical case of human psychological well-being would largely manifest most or all of the aforementioned PERMA fac…Read more
  •  1629
    Racial epithets are terms used to characterize people on the basis of their race, and are often used to harm the people that they target. But what do racial epithets mean, and how do they work to harm in the way that they do? In this essay I set out to answer these questions by offering a pragmatic view of racial epithets, while contrasting my position with Christopher Hom's semantic view.