Philosophy and the Non-Native Speaker Condition

American Philosophical Association Newsletter in Feminism and Philosophy 14 (2) (2015)
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In this note, my aim is to point out a phenomenon that has not received much attention; a phenomenon that, in my opinion, should not be overlooked in the professional practice of philosophy, especially within feminist efforts for social justice. I am referring to the way in which being a non-native speaker of English interacts with the practice of philosophy.1 There is evidence that non-native speakers are often perceived in prejudiced ways. Such prejudiced perception causes harm and, more importantly, constitutes wrongdoing. As in other cases of prejudiced perception and biased behavior, it would be pretentious and misguided to expect philosophers and the philosophy profession to be free from this vice. There are good reasons to think that this prejudiced perception is bad not only for the persons who are perceived in such a way, but also for the profession, for it might make us miss important things that could improve philosophy in general. I claim we should be more sensitive to this phenomenon, both out of concern for justice, and for the sake of doing better philosophy.



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Saray Ayala López
California State University, Sacramento