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Slurs As Asides - A Non-Expressivist Conventional Implicature View

Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 3:45 pm – 5:10 pm

The talk concerns the question of how slurs manage to derogate the members of a group. Firstly, it will be argued that neither (genuinely) semantic nor pragmatic views can adequately account for the phenomenon in question. Secondly, an intermediate conventional implicature view will be developed that integrates two separate claims found in the literature, namely (i) Bach’s (forthcoming) claim that slurs contribute their derogative content in the manner of asides and (ii) Potts’s (2005) claim that asides conventionally implicate their content. The resulting view is a non-expressivist variant of a conventional implicature view of slurs: derogation performed by using a slur results from conveying descriptive content rather than from expressing a derogative attitude toward the target group. It is argued that this is a decisive advantage of the proposed view, since it can account for features of slurs that are mysterious from an expressivist point of view.