Course content:
What aspects of linguistic meaning belong to semantics and what aspects belong to pragmatics remains a controversial question.  The objective in this course is to address this question by considering a comparatively small but currently widely studied aspect of natural language, namely slurs and other kinds of derogatory speech. We begin by covering some foundational topics in pragmatics and then move on to consider a range of recent analyses of slurs. We will be particularly concerned with the following questions:

(a) Can a  plausible theory of slurs be constructed using already familiar semantic and/or pragmatic resources?

(b) Will such a theory fit with a standard distinction between semantics and pragmatics?

In the second part of the course, we will turn our attention to a different and slightly more subtle kind of derogatory speech, namely racial and gender generics. Our main focus will be on determining what a plausible theory of generic statements must look like, but we will also touch on certain normative issues, e.g. whether racial and gender generics are inherently problematic and therefore ought to never be used.

Teacher: Anders Schoubye

Language: The language of instruction will be English.

Course dates: November 6 – January 18

Course schedule: Se Schema för Teoretisk filosofi magisterkurs ht 19

Literature, examination, course format: