It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty - that is, the use of words.. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark which shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances.(Italo Calvino: Six Memos for the New Millenium)
In philosophical papers and academic blogs ‘she’ has become the standard for the unmarked personal pronoun particularly when the profession of philosophy is being considered in general. cf: golden cobra
Presumably this is to encourage women to take up advanced study with a view to becoming academics. Grammatical positive discrimination kind of. In a rumination on the ethics of littering by a prof. I noted that whereas ‘she’ was used in topic neutral mode when it came to vandalism ‘he’ or ‘she’ it was who uprooted a post in the park. Do I detect a wobble in resolve?
The profession continues to wallow in ‘worry’ and be beset by ‘suspicion’(cf: suspicion also suspicious minds)but there is an apostle of light in the person of Herman Cappelen who is generally dismissive of such hedging locutions and who blows cold on the subject of intuitions as the ore from which philosophic gold is extracted.
Here is a review:disputatio
and the first chapter available on Professor Cappelen’s academic web site:
An interview with him:
new books in philosophy
I hear the grinding of tectonic plates and as Professor Cappelen promises to debunk the notion of analytic philosophy as being conceptual analysis, earthquakes are coming.
Oh ye worriers!
P.S. It is published by O.U.P. in the U.S. so ‘she’ must be obeyed but nevertheless I will have to read it.