Linguistic Choice and Moral Choice: A Reply to Richter

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 16 (4):795 - 800 (1986)
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Richter begins with a set of counter examples to a position that he acknowledges is not important to me. He goes on to produce counter examples to a position I do not hold. And he concludes by imputing a project to me that I nowhere endorse and by ridiculing that project. Part of his confusion is my fault since what I have done is not entirely consistent with what I claimed to have done. So let me try to clarify and to develop what I take to be valuable in my paper.To begin with, it was not my main intent to offer an account of the ordinary use of the term ‘racist’. Indeed, for reasons that will be dear presently, I now think that the attempt to provide such an account is misguided. Whether I have offered an account of what Richter calls a ‘central use’ depends on what he means by ‘central use.’ Judging from his proposed counter examples, he seems to hold that whatever satisfies the definition of a central use of some expression ‘e’ will be acknowledged by all competent speakers as a case of e.In this sense of ‘central use’ I have not offered an account of a central use of ‘racist’ either. What, then, have I done?



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IX.—Essentially Contested Concepts.W. B. Gallie - 1956 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56 (1):167-198.
Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval.C. B. Macpherson - 1973 - Philosophical Review 84 (2):304-306.

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