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Being a Foreigner in Philosophy: A Taxonomy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020


The question of diversity, both with regard to the demographic profile of philosophers as well as the content of philosophical inquiry, has received much attention in recent years. One figure that has gone relatively unnoticed is that of the foreigner. To the extent that philosophers have taken the foreigner as their object of inquiry, they have focused largely on challenges nonnative speakers of English face in a profession conducted predominantly in English. Yet an understanding of the foreigner in terms of the nonnative speaker does not exhaust the conceptual space of the foreigner. This article provides a more nuanced conceptual apparatus that allows for a more precise identification and discussion of other ways in which one can be a foreigner in philosophy. I develop a taxonomy of different conceptions of the foreigner, namely the linguistic, material, cultural, and epistemic foreigner; I discuss the different and specific challenges they face; and I show how foreigners enrich philosophical practice.

Cluster on Foreigners in Philosophy
Hypatia , Volume 33 , Issue 2 , Spring 2018 , pp. 307 - 324
Copyright © 2018 by Hypatia, Inc.

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[Correction added on February 12, 2018, after online publication: Publication year for the reference, “How is this paper philosophy” by Kristie Dotson was changed to 2012.]


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