Mark Bowker's talk

Monday, May 17, 2021 - 19:00

Mark Bowker earned his PhD from St Andrews University in Scotland and presently does research in University College Dublin in Ireland. His special interests are in philosophy of language, in particular how we manage to communicate using sentences whose content is indeterminate, and how we accept prejudicial generalizations that go beyond the evidence. These are questions that transcend semantics and investigate how human beings work with language outside the laboratory.             

Paper Title: “Edgelords: Inviting Criticism” 

This paper describes a novel speech act that I term edgelording. Speakers can go to great lengths to phrase themselves in ways that avoid causing offense or triggering criticism. Edgelording, however, is a speech act designed to provoke criticism by causing offense. I describe how edgelording presents a practical dilemma for audiences: Disagree with the edgelord, giving them exactly what they want, or refuse to disagree and leave the offensive utterance to go unchallenged. When politicians are edgelords, the dilemma is even more pressing.