To understand the propagation of prejudice, we need to understand the linguistic devices through which it is expressed. Prejudicial attitudes can be expressed through generic generalisations (or simply generics) like ‘Women are illogical’, which ascribe properties (e.g. being illogical) to groups (e.g. women). The standard analysis takes generics to express claims about the world. This project will develop a novel alternative analysis on which generic generalisations are analogous to exclamations like ‘Ouch!’, in that they function primarily express the speaker’s mental states rather than describing the world. In addition to advancing our understanding of the propagation of prejudice, this project will experimentally assess the novel Generic Bootstrapping Hypothesis, according to which prejudice has a source in our disposition to store evidence in generic form.
Main Research Objectives:
1. Specify the expressivst view of generics and show how expressivism avoids problems that arise for the standard view.
3. Explain the harm caused by discriminatory generics.
1. Two research papers
2. A paper communicating research findings to the non-academic public
3. An experiment assessing the impact of generics about social kinds
4. A conference on issues related to the project
5. A special issue of a journal based on the workshop
1. Train the researcher in experimental techniques
2. Extend the researcher's competencies to experimental philosophy and cognitive science
3. Transfer the researcher’s knowledge of context and underdetermination to the host
4. Increase collaboration and research opportunities for the host and researcher by bringing members of the researcher's
network to host
5. Increase public awareness of debates and research concerning generics
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme