Obscene Words and Social Policy

Joel Feinberg

in The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law: Volume 2: Offense to Others

Published in print May 1988 | ISBN: 9780195052152
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785872 | DOI:
 Obscene Words and Social Policy

Show Summary Details


Obscenity is the language of impiety, irreverence, and disrespect. Some use it to convey a disrespectful attitude towards a person or platitude, while others use it to reject the prevailing norms of propriety. The meanings of the terms euphemism, cacophemism, prophemism, and disphemism are explained. The reaction to excessive euphemization, two strategies for ridding the language of obscene words, the phenomenon of dirty-mindedness, and the case for retaining the obscene vocabulary are discussed.

Keywords: obscene words; euphemism; cacophemism; prophemism; disphemism

Chapter.  10407 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.