in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Philosophy Forum: Linguistic Disobedience

Dr. David Miguel Gray

University of Memphis

November 30th at 4:00-5:30 in Bryant Hall 200

“Linguistic Disobedience”

“There has recently been a focus in the philosophy of language on how to best account for the unique features of epithets. Part of the task of a theory of epithets has been to account for appropriation (that is, the removal of the derogatory force of a term that has been traditionally used to demean a group). However, we argue that no account of the derogatory force of epithets should explain the original attempts to appropriate an epithet. Such attempts fundamentally involve a violation of language-governing norms in the attempting to remove or inhibit derogatory force. In this way, they are closely analogous to acts of civil disobedience. We will demonstrate that this analogy helps us better understand both attempts at appropriation and civil disobedience.”

The format of this event will be a workshop of Dr. Gray’s paper. Requests for an advance copy of the paper can be directed to Dr. Donovan Wishon (

More information about future UM Philosophy Forum events can be found on the department calendar at