Tongue-tied: Rawls, political philosophy and metalinguistic awareness

Yael Peled, Matteo Bonotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Is our moral cognition colored by the language(s) that we speak? Despite the centrality of language to political life and agency, limited attempts have been made thus far in contemporary political philosophy to consider this possibility. We therefore set out to explore the possible influence of linguistic relativity effects on political thinking in linguistically diverse societies. We begin by introducing the facts and fallacies of the linguistic relativity principle, and explore the various ways in which they color, often covertly, current normative debates. To illustrate this, we focus on two key Rawlsian concepts: the original position and public reason. We then move to consider the resulting epistemic challenges and opportunities facing contemporary multilingual democratic societies in an age of increased mobility, arguing for the consequent imperative of developing political metalinguistic awareness and political extelligence among political scientists, political philosophers, and political actors alike in an irreducibly complex linguistic world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-811
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume110
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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