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Volume 34, 2017

Meaning and Publicity

Robert Shanklin
Pages 163-177

Local Meaning, Public Offense

The internalist-externalist debate about semantic and mental contents concerns whether the contents of certain claims and beliefs depend on facts external to the people having those beliefs or not. However, rather than just join up with either side, I argue for re-casting the debate so as to allow for hybrid internalist-externalist views, on the grounds that such views can help explain certain phenomena associated with slurs and pejoratives. If the debate can indeed be recast in this way and if hybrid views offer significant explanatory power, then they deserve further exploration.

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