`She' and `He': Politically Correct Pronouns
Author: Corazza, E.
Source: Philosophical Studies, Volume 111, Number 2, November 2002 , pp. 173-196(24)
It is argued that the pronouns `she' and `he' are disguised complex demonstratives of the form `that female/male'. Three theories of complex demonstratives are examined and shown to be committed to the view that `s/he' turns out to be an empty term when used to refer to a hermaphrodite. A fourth theory of complex demonstratives, one that is hermaphrodite friendly, is proposed. It maintains that complex demonstratives such as `that female/male' and the pronoun `s/he' can succeed in referring to someone independently of his or her gender. This theory incorporates: (i) a multiple proposition view, i.e., the view that an utterance of a sentence containing a complex demonstrative expresses two (or more) propositions, namely the background proposition(s) and the official one; (ii) that the referent of a complex demonstrative is a component of the official proposition expressed whether it satisfies the nominal part of the demonstrative expression or not; (iii) that the nominal part of a complex demonstrative only affect the background proposition(s) and (iv) that the utterance inherits its truth-value only from the official proposition.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK, E-mail: email@example.com
Publication date: 2002-11-01