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The awful English language


Glock, Hans Johann (2018). The awful English language. Philosophical Papers, 47(1):123-154.

Abstract

The ever-increasing dominance of English within analytic philosophy is an aspect of linguistic globalisation. To assess it, I first address fundamental issues in the philosophy of language. Steering a middle course between linguistic universalism and linguistic relativism, I deny that some languages might be philosophically superior to others, notably by capturing the essential categories of reality. On this background I next consider both the pros and cons of the Anglicisation of (analytic) philosophy. I shall defend the value of English as a lingua franca, while denying both the feasibility and the desirability of English as the sole universal language of philosophy. Finally I turn to the linguistic inequality in contemporary analytic philosophy. While it does not per se amount to an injustice, there is a need to level the playing field. But the remedy does not lie in linguistic academic sectarianism. Instead, what might be called for are piecemeal measures to reduce explicit and implicit biases against analytic philosophers on the geographic fringes, biases that are only partly connected to the predominance of English

Abstract

The ever-increasing dominance of English within analytic philosophy is an aspect of linguistic globalisation. To assess it, I first address fundamental issues in the philosophy of language. Steering a middle course between linguistic universalism and linguistic relativism, I deny that some languages might be philosophically superior to others, notably by capturing the essential categories of reality. On this background I next consider both the pros and cons of the Anglicisation of (analytic) philosophy. I shall defend the value of English as a lingua franca, while denying both the feasibility and the desirability of English as the sole universal language of philosophy. Finally I turn to the linguistic inequality in contemporary analytic philosophy. While it does not per se amount to an injustice, there is a need to level the playing field. But the remedy does not lie in linguistic academic sectarianism. Instead, what might be called for are piecemeal measures to reduce explicit and implicit biases against analytic philosophers on the geographic fringes, biases that are only partly connected to the predominance of English

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:15 May 2018 15:11
Last Modified:08 Jun 2018 01:03
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0556-8641
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/05568641.2018.1429737

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