Many different intellectuals have argued that using language in a certain way conduces to certain attitudes and beliefs in the speaker (I'm thinking mostly of feminist theorists who argue that our language both betrays and reinforces sexist and heteronormative worldviews). A great deal of literature presupposes the truth of this idea.
I can see why this is such an attractive theory; it seems entirely plausible, and, if true, its implications would be deep. At the same time, however, I wonder if philosophers and theorists aren't overstepping their bounds in claims like this; if a certain way of talking inclines us toward a certain way of thinking and acting, isn't this in fact an empirical question? I can imagine how using masculine pronouns could instill sexist attitudes in a person -- but imagining is very different from proving.
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