Ideal DoLLs as Ideology


  • Jeff Engelhardt Department of Philosophy, Dickinson College


ideal theory, division of linguistic labor, nonideal theory, hermeneutical marginalization


This paper argues that many philosophical theories of meaning idealize our actual language communities and thereby contribute to perpetuating group-based oppression. I focus on externalist theories of language that posit a division of linguistic labor (DoLL), and I argue that the DoLLs they imagine are free of oppression and untouched by its effects. This distorts both basic theoretical assumptions and our ideas about which meanings are to be found in some language community. By thus obscuring oppression and its effects, we prevent ourselves from adequately addressing oppression's effects on the meanings we use to understand and communicate about the world.


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How to Cite

Engelhardt, J. (2019). Ideal DoLLs as Ideology. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 12, 44–63. Retrieved from