Slurring as insulting

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This paper contributes to the ongoing debate about the meaning of slurs by developing a speech-act approach to slurring. Slurs are conceived of as illocutionary force indicating devices that may signal – in certain contexts – that an act of slurring has been carried out. Slurring is a subtype of insulting and insulting is a subtype of the class of expressive speech acts. The speech-act view of slurring explains what is missing in a number of sophisticated analyses like the truth-conditional approach by Hom and May (2013), the conventional-implicature approach by Whiting (2008, 2013), the stereotype approach by Croom (2011, 2013), the perspective approach by Camp (2013), as well as the prohibition approach by Anderson and Lepore (2013a, b), namely that slurs are used for insulting their targets. The latter approach is contrasted with the multi-act approach of Tenchini and Frigerio (this volume) that assumes two illocutionary forces associated with slurs.


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