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Globalized Parochialism: Consequences of English as Lingua Franca in Philosophy of Science

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In recent decades, English has become the uncontestable lingua franca of philosophy of science and of most other areas of philosophy and of the humanities. To have a lingua franca produces enormous benefits for the entire scientific community. The price for those benefits, however, is paid almost exclusively by non-native speakers of English (NoNES). Section 1 identifies three asymmetries that individual NoNES researchers encounter: ‘publication asymmetry’, ‘resources asymmetry’, and ‘team asymmetry’. Section 2 deals with ‘globalized parochialism asymmetry’: thanks to English being a lingua franca, a special (‘parochial’) perspective, mostly US and British, is being globalized and is replacing European topics and approaches. This has serious consequences for history of philosophy as well as for philosophical theory: thinkers of the past tend to be dealt with on the global level at best only if and insofar they are translated into English. Similarly, the theoretical agenda of globalized philosophy of science is set by—mostly American—native English speakers (NES). This way, interesting and important topics and approaches from the European continent are marginalized or completely ignored in the world of globalized parochialism. In my view, the structural asymmetry and even unfairness on the global level between NES and NoNES cannot be eliminated but only attenuated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 03 April 2015

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