SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

SOPhiA ToolsDE-pageEN-page

Programme - Talk

Quantificational Discrimination and Epistemic Injustice
(Ethics, English)

The illuminating concept of epistemic injustice as an instance where an individual is being wronged in their capacity as a knower was put forward by Miranda Fricker, prompting much philosophical interest in this particular area of intersection between the epistemic and the ethical. Although it is never stated explicitly throughout her work, I argue that a close analysis of Fricker's account reveals that it is quintessentially centred on the epistemic dimension of a very well-known philosophical concept -- discrimination. It is however precisely this conceptual kinship that has detrimental effects on Fricker's theory as, which I aim to show, a crucial distinction between two broad and fundamentally different categories of discrimination has gone unnoticed in the existing research. The distinction in question relates back to two kinds of features which can invite discrimination: quantified features (e.g. age, weight, IQ, grades etc.) and non-quantified features (e.g. gender, complexion etc.). It is when one becomes a victim of unjust, disadvantageous treatment as a result of ''bearing'' a particular number that I speak of quantificational discrimination. I hold that quantificational discrimination is, in contrast to well-researched ''classical'' discrimination based on non-quantified features, harder to detect, harder to call out as wrong and often mistaken for legitimate science-based selection. What is more, it invites what I call reflexive discrimination, i.e. disadvantageous treatment at one's own hands. Crucially, I argue that quantificational discrimination operates without regard to social salience and thus affects not only marginalized groups but each and every individual on an almost daily basis. Unfortunately, Fricker's theoretical framework fails to adequately capture this situation because of a hermeneutical lacuna where the concept of quantificational discrimination should be. As a result, a tremendous number of epistemic injustices are left unacknowledged as being morally reprehensible and based on pseudo-scientific stereotypes. The aim of the present paper is thus twofold: to flesh out a theory of quantificational discrimination as well as to present a model of how quantificational discrimination and epistemic injustice interact as subsequent stages in the discriminatory process.

Chair: Katharina Anna Sodoma
Time: 16:15-16:45, 14 September 2017 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.007

Noelle Rohde 
(University of Oxford, UK)

Noelle Rohde is a Master student in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She previously read for a Bachelor degree in Philosophy and Linguistics at the Universities of Oxford and Paderborn.

Testability and Meaning deco