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Does anyone have an objective case against the use of profanity, including but not limited to the words 'fu-k', 'cu-t', 'ass--e', 'bi--h', in verbal or written language?

asked Jun 13 '11 at 09:38

dreadrocksean's gravatar image


edited Jan 05 '14 at 14:08

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

question for clarification: are you distinguishing between profanity and vulgarity here?

(Jun 13 '11 at 09:49) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

It is interesting that you ask that question. No. Though I do recognize the suspicious religious connection between the two, I did not create it. My question is about profanity.

(Jun 13 '11 at 10:52) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

Is bad grammar immoral? In a minor sense, I'd say yes, because you are not communicating as effectively as you could. Bad communication wastes time, and time is life.

The same is true for profanity, if overused, or if used inappropriately. For instance, if you meet your future wife's parents for the first time and you start swearing profusely, the implication is that you don't really respect her family. Even if you really do respect them, undoing the confusion/damage will take some time. That's an immoral, unjust waste.

Vulgar language should be used appropriately: when upset (generally among people you know), or when with intimate friends as a means of implying: "you get me. I can swear around you and you'll know it's a sign of trust rather than disrespect." Swearing when speaking to strangers is like going shirtless on an uptown street: it's baring too much of yourself to people whom you aren't on intimate terms with. They don't deserve it; it's unjust.

answered Jun 14 '11 at 09:13

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

You are entirely correct. If one's goal is shot at from a barrel of action irrational in direction, the act is immoral at a level proportionate to the product of the value of the goal and irrationality of the act. My question is concerned with the irrational, subjectively immoral view of others who one is aiming to connect favourably with and its moral implications upon my own actions. For e.g., if one wants to gain a racist individual as a customer, does one send a black salesman? Where does the immorality here lie?

(Jun 14 '11 at 11:51) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

Profanity certainly has its uses. Colorful or shocking language can be used for emphasis, for example.

However, using such a tool with abandon would obviously reduce its utility in providing emphasis because you've made it common, so that would be one reason for sparing, judicious use.

More significant is the observation of manners/politeness: if you wish to live around and work well with others, then being oblivious or indifferent to unnecessarily shocking them with vulgar, graphic language is counterproductive. Someone who demonstrates a lack of sensitivity to their social context is waving warning flags.

answered Jun 13 '11 at 12:02

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Agreed on all points. Would you say that it's use or overuse is IMMORAL?

(Jun 13 '11 at 12:06) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

Like anything, doing something is immoral if it involves evasion. But then naming the immorality would stop being about this concrete action of swearing or whatever, and focus more appropriately on the virtue that is being compromised: say, deceiving oneself about its effects.

(Jun 13 '11 at 12:14) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

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Asked: Jun 13 '11 at 09:38

Seen: 1,309 times

Last updated: Jan 05 '14 at 14:08