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Sarah-Jane Leslie on How Language Shapes Our Perception of the Social World @ Brooklyn Public Philosophers, Tuesday 6/24

Jun 24, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

| Free

Hi everyone!

This season’s final meeting (!) of BKPP is coming up in a few days. On Tuesday, June 24th, Sarah-Jane Leslie (Princeton) will join us to speak about how language shapes our perception of the social world. If you’re looking to soothe your end-of-semester philosophy withdrawal, here’s the abstract:

How Language Shapes our Perception of the Social World

A perennial question in philosophy and psychology concerns the extent to which language shapes cognition. Of particular interest is the extent to which our perception of the social world — of other people and of ourselves — is moulded by the language we hear others use. Consider, for example, general language used to talk about social groups: “Italians eat pasta”, “boys like trucks”, “Jews celebrate passover”. These commonplace utterances exert a subtle but potent influence on our perceptions of these groups — and in particular upon young children’s developing view of the social other. Or consider the different ways in which one might offer praise: one might say “that’s a good drawing”, or one might say “you’re a good drawer”. The difference between these phrasings may seem trivial and inconsequential, but they have powerfully different effects on motivation and self-conception. This talk explores these examples and others, drawing on considerations from philosophy, psychology and linguistics to examine the ways in which our perception of the social world around us is implicitly shaped by language.

All Brooklyn Public Philosophers events are 100% free and open to the public. We meet in the Info Commons Lab at the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza).

See you there, I hope!


Jun 24, 2014
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Brooklyn Public Library, Info Commons Lab
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238 United States


Brooklyn Public Philosophers