Ethics and the Increasingly English-Speaking Psychiatric Tower of Babel

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Jean-Pierre Cléro


Frenchmen dealing with ethics have only recently focused their attention on questions regarding its relation to language, whereas the British and the Americans who share the same interest have been interested in this problem for decades. The most surprising fact regarding this relative neglect, that is only about to be corrected, is that it would have been noticed and dealt with much sooner, was it not for a blinding reason: namely that international medical bodies, psychiatric in particular, have become Anglophone bodies.  The aim of this paper is to consider whether it would not be dangerous to confuse universalism, which is desirable, and translation which is equally desirable, with the choice of one language as axial for the other languages and supposed to define the structures of all situations – something which imposes on the other languages a strange reduction that they would probably not have suffered without this constraint about translation. 

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CLÉRO, Jean-Pierre. Ethics and the Increasingly English-Speaking Psychiatric Tower of Babel. Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series, [S.l.], v. 67, n. 2, p. 3-20, apr. 2019. ISSN 0068-3175. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 apr. 2019.