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YARRAN HOMINH, LINUS HUANG AND ELENA WALSH

A Rawlsian? Thought Experiment


Due to a stroke, you’ve damaged your brain and as a
result acquired mild forms of:

 Dyslexia: disorder of reading


 Aphasia: disorder of comprehension and formulation of
language

What would it be like to carry on your life?


What would it be like to work in the current academic
community?
Linguistic Injustice:
“[In situations where] the members of one linguistic
group learn the language of another without the latter
reciprocating…the cost of learning is borne by one
group, whereas the benefit is enjoyed by both. …in the
absence of any cost-sharing device, such situations are
unjust.”
“Non-native English speakers seem to be “The present situation is a clear, unequivocal
clearly disadvantaged with respect to native example of linguistic injustice. All the costs of
English speakers when trying to get their work having a common international language in
published. In fact, English language science are borne by Non-native English-
proficiency has been shown to be a strong speaking scientists, implying unfair
predictor of scientific output, both at the level cooperation in obtaining a common
of individual scientists and nationally.” good (i.e. a common language).”
“The lack of credit for the Japanese approach… can be partly attributed to
the language barrier. It is just hard for non-English speakers to make
themselves heard in an English-speaking world.”

“English itself is of course not the problem: It is not better or worse than
any other language. The problem is the attitude of native English speakers.”

“Naturally, [native English speakers speak their] own language faster and
better than any other. This can make it impossible for those who are not
native English speakers to keep up at international meetings.”

“Since English speakers dominate every discussion, they form a class of


great minds strutting around in the secure knowledge that no one will
challenge them.”
Implicit Bias

Philosophy and The Non-Native Speaker Condition


 Psychological research has shown that non-native accent can have
detrimental effects on the subject's perception of the competence of
the speaker and the success of communication, even when:
 The non-native accent is merely perceived (not actual),
 The results of the communication is on a par with control (native
accent), and
 The subject has “explicit” pro-attitude toward foreign accent.
 The same implicit bias and problem apply similarly to written
language.
 Prejudiced perception of non-native speakers may be especially
detrimental in philosophy because the credibility of a speaker relies
more strongly on how convincing they sound, compared to other
more data-based disciplines.