ArgLab • Colloquium

Laura Caponetto on “The Philosophy of Counter-Language”

ArgLab Research Colloquium

The talk will provide an opinionated survey of a number of counterspeech strategies that have been variously discussed in contemporary philosophy of language. Each of the discussed strategies is promising under certain circumstances and unpromising, and even liable to backfire, under others. When it comes to countering toxic speech, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and to decide on a particular strategy one has to factor in a number of contextual variables – including the linguistic form of the toxic utterance (e.g. whether it is explicitly toxic, or conveys a toxic message implicitly) and the counterspeaker’s social role. Overall, the talk aims to uncover how tools from the philosophy of language can illuminate the workings of toxic speech and help us devise tailor-made strategies to counter it. It thus sketches the foundations of a philosophy of counter-language.

Laura Caponetto (University of Cambridge) — joint work with Bianca Cepollaro

To join the session on Zoom, please get in touch with Giulia Terzian at or Gloria Andrada at for the details.

This event is part of the ArgLab Research Colloquium organised by Maria Grazia Rossi, Giulia Terzian and Gloria Andrada at the Laboratory of Argumentation, Cognition and Language of the NOVA Institute of Philosophy. For any inquiries, please contact Maria GraziaGiulia, or Gloria.

Event supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e para a Tecnologia) of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science under the project UIDB/00183/2020.

Next sessions
19 Apr — Dimitris Serafis (Groningen)
10 May — Peter Baumann (Swarthmore)
21 Jun — Christopher Tindale (Windsor)
20 Sep — José Angel Gascón (Murcia)
18 Oct — Joel Krueger (Exeter)
15 Nov — Casey Rebecca Johnson (Idaho)
13 Dec — Roosmaryn Pilgram (Leiden)