•  355
    Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that…Read more
  •  112
    Slurs and the Type-Token Distinction of Their Derogatory Force
    Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 13 (2): 63-72. 2019.
    Slurs are derogatory, and theories of slurs aim at explaining their “derogatory force”. This paper draws a distinction between the type derogatory force and the token derogatory force of slurs. To explain the type derogatory force is to explain why a slur is a derogatory word. By contrast, to explain the token derogatory force is to explain why an utterance of a slur is derogatory. This distinction will be defended by examples in which the type and the token derogatory force come apart. Because …Read more
  •  87
    Slurs as Illocutionary Force Indicators
    Philosophia 49 (3): 1051-1065. 2020.
    Slurs are derogatory words and they are used to derogate certain groups. Theories of slurs must explain why they are derogatory words, as well as other features like independence and descriptive ineffability. This paper proposes an illocutionary force indicator theory of slurs: they are derogatory terms because their use is to perform the illocutionary act of derogation, which is a declarative illocutionary act to enforce norms against the target. For instance, calling a Chinese person “chink” i…Read more
  •  38
    Toward a Theory of Offense: Should You Feel Offended?
    Philosophy 96 (4): 625-649. 2021.
    The feeling of being offended, as a moral emotion, plays a key role in issues such as slurs, the offense principle, ethics of humor, etc. However, no adequate theory of offense has been developed in the literature, and it remains unclear what questions such a theory should answer. This paper attempts to fill the gap by performing two tasks. The first task is to clarify and summarize the questions of offense into two kinds, the descriptive questions (e.g., what features differentiate offense from…Read more