Nikki Ernst

  • Graduate Student

Hi there! I joined the Philosophy Department at Pitt in 2020, and I’ve also been an MA student in the Linguistics Department since 2022. Before that, I got BAs and MAs in Philosophy and Comparative Literature in Munich. On the way, I picked up a Philosophy MPhil from Cambridge.

As research goes, I’m mainly interested in four vaguely connected ways of engaging with language(s) – namely: (1) How can we use Austinian, Wittgensteinian, and Post-Cavellian Ordinary Language Philosophy to intervene into dominant visions of what philosophers (should) do with words? (2) How can we productively frame the harms in harmful speech to do socially and politically engaged philosophy of language? (3) What does it mean for philosophical practice that we philosophize in languages, or how has the idealization of monolingualism been shaping the way we do philosophy? (4) And what does it mean to idealize language(s) anyway, be it via ‘semantics’, via ‘neutrality’ in philosophical methodology, or via whatever fancy myth?

As a background to this, I’m also into a bunch of other intersecting issues in politically engaged philosophy – like non-ideal theory, ideologies, transnational and trans-inclusive feminism, liberatory epistemologies, and that exciting Post-Wittgensteinian strand in animal ethics.

I run the “Words Workshop” an international virtual weekly pre-read workshop on current work in political philosophy of language. Feel free to subscribe to our mailing list to receive readings and Zoom invites ( please reach out to me if you’d like to discuss your work with us!

In my free time, I mainly enjoy vegan sweets. My pronouns are they/them (or he/him).