Also unclear are Hare’s motivations for being an ethical non-cognitivist. By the time Hare published The Language of Morals (1952), non-cognitivism was already the dominant view in moral philosophy. So there was much less of a need for Hare to motivate the view than there was for Ayer and Stevenson a couple decades earlier. Instead, Hare’s concern was mostly to give a more thorough articulation of the view than the other non-cognitivists had, and one sophisticated enough to avoid some of the problems that had already arisen for earlier versions of the view.
Saka (2007) offers an alternative, hybrid expressivist theory of slurs, according to which slurs contain both expressive and descriptive content (see also Kaplan (2004)). Saka denies that there is a single belief or proposition expressed by slurring statements such as ‘Nietzsche was a kraut’. Rather, such statements express an attitude complex, which includes (i) the pure belief that Nietzsche was German, and (ii) a cognitive-affective state toward Germans (Saka 2007, p 143). Saka’s hybrid theory could plausibly account for the descriptive, truth-conditional features of pejoratives.
Language has been studied and analyzed for centuries. Philosophers, linguists, logicians, and others have accumulated a rich store of knowledge about language. What has emerged, however, is not a uniform, generally accepted theory but a rich picture full of salient details, brilliant insights, ambiguities, and contradictions. Most of this work has focused on analyzing language as an object, rather than on the process of language comprehension or production. The importance of the actual process of language comprehension has not gone unrecognized, for instance, by literary scholars who have understood very well the role that the process of reception plays in the appreciation of a literary work, yet the tools for explicit modeling of comprehension processes have not been available until quite recently. 1