Slurs: At-issueness and Semantic Normativity

Simone Carrus


In the first part of the article, we present the main approaches to analyze slurs’ content and we investigate the interaction between an assertion containing a slur and a denial (‘It’s not true that P’ / P is false’) showing to what extent a “neutral counterpart account” works better than a “dual account”. Additionally, the analysis offers the opportunity to discuss the usefulness of the notion of “at-issueness” for a debate on the lexical semantics of slurs. In the second part, we use our apparatus to analyze a real case of non-standard use of ‘frocio’ (‘faggot’). Our conclusion is that even if a family resemblance conception of category membership could account for these uses, it cannot account for the related semantic normativity problem.


ambiguity; at-issueness; lexical semantics; semantic normativity; slurs

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