Do you think that a) being a polyglot or b) knowing some linguistics improves one’s philosophy (eg by avoiding puzzles which are in fact language-specific)?

Philosopher's reply

Dear Mark,

Absolutely, 100%! Whenever I teach philosophy of language, I start off by writing three quotes on the board – one in medieval Welsh; one in Sindarin, and one in Linear A. This immediately raises questions on “what is meaning?”, “what is meaningfulness?”, and even, “do we assign meaning differently to natural languages and constructed languages?” No two languages have all the same properties, so knowing more languages, including their linguistic properties – can help you see what is common to all languages and what is specific to some, or some families.

Sara L. Uckleman
Durham Uni

Philosopher's profile

Sara L. Uckelman

Durham University, UK

Like Murdoch, I too am a woman philosopher who also reads and writes a lot of fiction. There are not many people like her in the philosophical world, and it matters to be able to look into the philosophical mirror and find someone who looks like me looking back out.

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