1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language

Edited By Justin Khoo, Rachel Katharine Sterken Copyright 2021
    424 Pages
    by Routledge

    424 Pages
    by Routledge

    This Handbook brings together philosophical work on how language shapes, and is shaped by, social and political factors. Its 24 chapters were written exclusively for this volume by an international team of leading researchers, and together they provide a broad expert introduction to the major issues currently under discussion in this area.

    The volume is divided into four parts:

    Part I: Methodological and Foundational Issues
    Part II: Non-ideal Semantics and Pragmatics
    Part III: Linguistic Harms
    Part IV: Applications

    The parts, and chapters in each part, are introduced in the volume’s General Introduction. A list of Works Cited concludes each chapter, pointing readers to further areas of study. The Handbook is the first major, multi-authored reference work in this growing area and essential reading for anyone interested in the nature of language and its relationship to social and political reality.


    Part I: Social and Political Language: Methodological and Foundational Issues

    1. Conceptual Engineering in Philosophy
    Matti Eklund

    2. Social Ontology
    Mari Mikkola

    3. An Invitation to Social and Political Metasemantics
    Derek Ball

    4. Linguistic Prescriptivism
    Alex Barber and Robert Stainton

    5. Speech Act Theory: Social and Political Applications
    Rachel Mckinney and Dan Harris

    6. On the Uselessness of the Distinction Between Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory (At Least in the Philosophy of Language)
    Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever

    Part II: Non-Ideal Semantics and Pragmatics

    7. Lying, Deception, and Epistemic Advantage
    Eliot Michaelson and Andreas Stokke

    8. Propaganda
    Anne Quaranto and Jason Stanley

    9. Code Words
    Justin Khoo

    10. Racist and Sexist Figleaves
    Jennifer Saul

    11. Protests
    Matthew Chrisman and Graham Hubbs

    12. Defective Contexts
    Andrew Peet

    Part III: Linguistic Harms 

    13. Varieties of Pejoratives
    Robin Jeshion

    14. Microaggressions and the Problem of Attributional Ambiguity
    Christina Friedlaender

    15. Hermeneutical Injustice
    Rebecca Mason

    16. Social and Political Aspects of Generic Language and Speech
    Matthew Mckeever and Rachel Sterken

    17. Language Extinction
    Ethan Nowak

    18. ’Laxwalxwashpotamáay Súngaan ‘Áawq // To Be Between the Blind Snake’s Teeth’: Indigenous Language Reclamation Between the Fangs of A (Simulated) Dilemma
    Shelbi Meissner

    Part IV: Applications

    19. Language and Free Speech
    Ishani Maitra and Mary Kate Mcgowan

    20. Language and Ideology
    Eric Swanson

    21. Language and Legitimation
    Robert Simpson

    22. How Much Gender is Too Much Gender?
    Robin Dembroff and Daniel Wodak

    23. On Language and Sexuality: Demisexuals, Polyamorous, Bambi Lesbians, and Other Queers
    Esa Diaz-Leon and Saray Ayala-Lopez

    24. The Language of Mental Illness
    Renee Jorgensen Bolinger


    Justin Khoo is Associate Professor of Philosophy at MIT. He works primarily at the intersection of philosophy of language and linguistic semantics, and has research interests in metaphysics and meta-ethics.

    Rachel Sterken is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. She works primarily at the intersection of philosophy of language, semantics, ethics, and social philosophy. Most of her research focuses on the semantics of generic language and issues related to conceptual engineering.