The Language of Contemporary Philosophy

In Josep Soler & Kathrin Kaufhold (eds.), Language and the Knowledge Economy in the European Context: Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Routledge (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Philosophy’s place, at the intersection of the scientific and humanities disciplines, makes it an interesting test case for the role of English and other languages and cultures in our contemporary knowledge economy. The humanities’ attention to the richness of the world’s languages and cultures is in tension with the science’s essentially cosmopolitan project. This tension is perhaps especially evident in ‘analytic’ or ‘Anglo-American’ philosophy. Despite complementarity in earlier stages of the discipline, the humanities and scientific tendencies are now clashing with undesirable results. This is in an important part due to analytic philosophy’s underexamined focus on a single vehicular language. One symptom of this malaise is that the voices of non-native-speaking philosophers are significantly less heard than those of native speakers. Especially problematic is, I argue, the current emphasis given to aesthetic considerations, and in particular linguistic form or style, as a sign of scientific rigour in the analysis of philosophical problems. I discuss this emphasis critically, arguing that it is not justifiable, in part because it deprives contemporary analytic philosophy of a wider variety of philosophical perspectives arising from different languages and cultures. I conclude by briefly presenting a recent attempt to make contemporary philosophy more linguistically inclusive.

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Filippo Contesi
Universitat de Barcelona

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References found in this work

Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
On the emergence of American analytic philosophy.Joel Katzav & Krist Vaesen - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):772-798.
Analytic philosophy, 1925-1969: emergence, management and nature.Joel Katzav - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (6):1197-1221.

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