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Title: Slurring epithets and generic descriptivism : the meaning and the epistemology of ethnically derogatory terms
Author: Valtonen, Pasi Markus
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 5246
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Slurring epithets or slurs like 'Frog' and 'Boche' are derogative terms but it is unclear why they are derogatory. This work discusses several proposals to answer this question. One commonality with the discussed views is that they all hold that derogation has something to do with semantics, broadly with the meaning of slurs. I disagree with this. I go on to introduce generic descriptivism. It is a novel view to handle slurs and it has two distinctive features. First, generic descriptivism holds that the nature of derogation is epistemic. derogation is due to the information which slurs contain. This is specied with the notion of stereotype. I claim that negative and unwarranted stereotypes are responsible for derogation. This information is not semantic. That is, it is to be distinguished from the meaning of slurs. Secondly, the eponymous feature of generic descriptivism is that it holds that the information which slurs contain is generic. I argue that generic beliefs are produced with a psychological mechanism of generalisation. In relation to social kinds, the mechanism can produce xenophobic generalisations and the use of slurs display these negative beliefs. Derogation is due to this negative information which the slurs contain.
Supervisor: Textor, Mark ; Brewer, Mark William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available