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Bad Words – Philosophical Perspectives on Slurs | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Bad Words: Philosophical Perspectives on Slurs

David Sosa


This book is a collection of new articles on the topic of slurs and other derogatory terms and problematic language. The articles are written by some of the leading contributors to the field. Slurs are an interesting case for the philosophy of language. On one hand, they seem to be meaningful in something like the way many other expressions are meaningful—different slurs might seem in some way to refer to different groups, for example. But on the other hand, it is clear that slurs also have distinctive practical effects and roles. How are those aspects related? Slurs are bad words; but how can ... More

Keywords: slurs, pejoratives, semantics/pragmatics, obscenity, expressivism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198758655
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198758655.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Sosa, editor
Temple Centennial Professor in the Humanities, University of Texas, Austin

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Front Matter


David Sosa

3 Loaded Words

Kent Bach

5 Pejoratives as Fiction

Christopher Hom and Robert May

6 Pejorative Tone

Ernie Lepore and Matthew Stone

7 How do Slurs Mean?

Mark Richard

8 Slurs and Obscenities

Geoffrey K. Pullum

End Matter