Linguistic Disobedience.


There has recently been a flurry of activity in the philosophy of language on how to best account for the unique features of epithets. One of these features is that epithets can be appropriated (that is, the offense-grounding potential of a term can be removed). We argue that attempts to appropriate an epithet fundamentally involve a violation of language-governing rules. We suggest that the other conditions that make something an attempt at appropriation are the same conditions that characterize acts of civil disobedience. Accounting for attempts at appropriation is thus both a linguistic and socio-political endeavor. We demonstrate how these two facets of attempts at appropriation also help us understand the communicative features of civil disobedience.

Publication Title

Philosopher’s Imprint