Open Access

Why Should We Prevent a Global Anglo-American Life-World? A Democratic-Deliberative Answer


Should English be promoted as a worldwide lingua franca for justice-related reasons? Philippe Van Parijs answers affirmatively in order to promote global distributive justice. In contrast, I argue that a rapid expansion of English could lead to one undesirable consequence that ought to be prevented: the globalization of an Anglo-American life-world that impoverishes democratic-deliberative debates. Inspired by John Stuart Mill, I will defend the idea that the more dominant the Anglo-American life-world is, the less diversity of life-worlds and, therefore, the less diversity of substantial voices in the global democratic-deliberative process there will be. It might be that more voices could be heard (because of the lingua franca), but with less substantial diversity of opinions. In that sense, the life-worlds (and language as an access key to them) have an instrumental value that enables plurality and better deliberative discussion. For that reason, I contend that there is a pro tanto reason to prevent the expansion of English as a lingua franca.