Adam Sennet, "Prospects for a unified theory of slurs"

When and where

16/11/2018, 15:30


Seminar on Language and Communication

Institute for Logic, Cognition, Language and Information (ILCLI)



Friday, November 16th, 2018
3:30 pm
Venue: Carlos Santamaria Zentroa, Room B1.


Prospects for a unified theory of slurs

 Adam Sennet (University of California, Davis)


In this paper we argue for a methodological point and a related point about theories of the pragmatics and semantics of slurring terms. First, in theorizing about slurs, there is much to be gained by considering a wider variety  of slurring terms than philosophers usually consider . We try to demonstrate this point by looking at three verbs, at least two of which are slurring verbs.  Second, under plausible assumptions, none of the most familiar views that are intended to explain the derogatory nature of slurring terms generalize well to the verbs in question. The three verbs we will use as examples are ‘to gyp’, ‘to jew’ and ‘to bitch’. They are worth considering in their own right, and we think our investigation of them reveals interesting complex features of the phenomenon of slurring.


(Attendance is free, but it should be notified in advance to