Unconscious Bias or Deliberate Gatekeeping?

The Philosophers' Magazine (95):9-11 (2021)
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Philosophy has a language problem. A recent study by Schwitzgebel, Huang, Higgins and Gonzalez-Cabrera (2018) found that, in a sample of papers published in elite journals, 97% of citations were to work originally written in English. 73% of this same sample didn’t cite any paper that had been originally written in a language other than English. Finally, a staggering 96% of elite journal editorial boards are primarily affiliated with an Anglophone university. This is consistent with earlier data suggesting that journal submissions from countries that are outside the Anglophone world and Europe have disturbingly low chances of being accepted. The route forward is not entirely clear. What is clear, however, is that this structural disadvantage deserves closer philosophical and empirical attention. We owe this to current and future members of our philosophical community who speak English non-natively. We also need this if we want to make sure philosophy is enriched by a diverse group of thinkers who have a grasp of different languages, and of the cultures strongly associated with them.

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Author Profiles

Louise R. Chapman
Cambridge University
Filippo Contesi
Universitat de Barcelona
Constantine Sandis
University of Hertfordshire

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