Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Zoom Talk: Isidora Stojanovic (Insitut Jean Nicod, Paris)

Meeting ID: 925-6562-2309

05.11.2020 16:00  – 18:00 

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Pejoratives revisited


Existing accounts of pejoratives converge on the idea that a use of a pejorative such as 'jerk' or 'asshole' is felicitous as long as the speaker has a negative attitude toward the person for whom they are using the pejorative, and does not place any special constraints on the conversational context. This talk presents experimental data that challenge this idea, based on joint work with Bianca Cepollaro and Filippo Domaneschi, "When is it OK to call someone a jerk? An experimental investigation of expressives", Synthese 2020, doi 10.1007/s11229-020-02633-z). Our main study shows that pejoratives are sensitive to contextual information to a much higher degree than the non-pejorative control items, both in their referential and (albeit less) their predicative use. I shall discuss the broader implications of these results, as well as several follow-up studies.