Stylistic Appearances and Linguistic Diversity

Metaphilosophy 54 (5):661-675 (2023)
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Contemporary philosophy is beginning to pay to problems of linguistic justice the attention that they deserve in today’s heavily interconnected world. However, contemporary philosophy, as a part of today’s world, has problems of linguistic justice of its own which deserve meta-philosophical attention. At least in the philosophical tradition that is mainstream in much of the world today, viz. analytic philosophy, methodological and sociological mechanisms make it the case that the voices of non-native-speaking philosophers are substantially less heard. In this essay, I briefly outline the problems non-native speakers face in contemporary analytic philosophy. I then move on to analysing the possible causes of the current problems. Among these reasons, I argue, is the emphasis given to linguistic style and appearances as signs of clarity, precision and rigour in the treatment of philosophical problems. I argue that the current emphasis on linguistic style in analytic philosophy is not justifiable, in part because it deprives contemporary analytic philosophy of a wider variety of philosophical perspectives. I argue that an important remedy for the emphasis on linguistic appearances within philosophy is to foster greater linguistic diversity. I conclude by presenting and motivating a recent initiative that aims to achieve such a goal.

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Filippo Contesi
Universitat de Barcelona

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Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language.Rudolf Carnap - 1966 - In Alfred Jules Ayer (ed.), Logical positivism. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 60-81.
Prestige Bias: An Obstacle to a Just Academic Philosophy.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
The Linguistic turn: essays in philosophical method.Richard Rorty (ed.) - 1967 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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