La Nonviolenza e la sua Biblioteca

Linguistic justice for the Europ for the world Philippe Van Parijs


Philippe Van Parijs


Philosopher, economist and jurist belgian (Brussels, 23 May 1951). In 2001 he was awarded the Prix Francqui for human sciences, the most prestigious prize in belgian after which organized an international conference on the relationship between solidarity and cultural diversity.

Philippe Van Parijs has studied philosophy, law, political economy, sociology and linguistics at the University Center Universitaires Saint Louis (Brussels) and the University of Louvain, Oxford, Bielefeld and California (Berkeley). He earned doctorates in social sciences (Louvain, 1977) and philosophy (Oxford, 1980).

He’s professor at the Faculty of economic sciences, and social policies of the University of Louvain (UCL), where he directed the chair Hoover of economic ethics and social, from its creation in 1991. It was also a professor special guest at the KULeuven at the Higher Institute of Philosophy since 2006. From 2004 onwards and has been for several years a contract lecturer in philosophy at Harvard University.


Linguistic Justice for the europe & for the world

In Europe and throughout the world, competence in English is spreading at a speed never achieved by any language in human history. This apparently irresistible growing dominance of English is frequently perceived and sometimes indignantly denounced as being grossly unjust. Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World starts off arguing that the dissemination of competence in a common lingua franca is a process to be welcomed and accelerated, most fundamentally because it provides the struggle for greater justice in Europe and in the world with an essential weapon: a cheap medium of communication and of mobilization.

However, the resulting linguistic situation can plausibly be regarded as unjust in three distinct senses. Firstly, the adoption of one natural language as the lingua franca implies that its native speakers are getting a free ride by benefiting costlessly from the learning effort of others. Secondly, they gain greater opportunities as a result of competence in their native language becoming a more valuable asset. And thirdly the privilege systematically given to one language fails to show equal respect for the various languages with which different portions of the population concerned identify. The book spells out the corresponding interpretations of linguistic justice as cooperative justice, distributive justice and parity of esteem, respectively. And it discusses systematically a wide range of policies that might help achieve linguistic justice in these three senses, from a linguistic tax on Anglophone countries to the banning of dubbing or the linguistic territoriality principle. It also argues that linguistic diversity, though not valuable in itself, will nonetherless need to be protected as a by-product of the pursuit of linguistic justice as parity of esteem.