SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

A Distinctively Epistemic Injustice?
(Epistemology, )

Miranda Fricker (2007) introduces the concept of epistemic injustice, which she characterises as a distinctively epistemic kind of injustice, as opposed to a kind of moral injustice. My focus is on testimonial injustice, which occurs when a speaker's testimony is afforded less credibility by a hearer than is warranted, because of a prejudice on the part of the hearer in respect to the speaker's identity. It is clear enough that this is an epistemically interesting phenomenon. In particular, the hearer fails to meet the epistemic standard that is called for in the situation, and deserves blame for doing so. It is also clear that it constitutes an injustice. The hearer fails to give the speaker a good that she has a legitimate claim to, namely credibility, and in doing so treats her unequally. More needs to be said, however, to show that the injustice is a distinctively epistemic one. Fricker locates the primary harm that makes testimonial injustice an epistemic injustice in the hearer's undermining the speaker as a knower, and in particular as a giver of knowledge. Although she does not fully flesh out how this constitutes a distinctively epistemic harm, she makes a number of claims that point towards a purely epistemic account. I follow Fricker's lead and articulate a view according to which the requirement that one assigns a speaker's testimony the appropriate credibility is accounted for in terms of our obligations to each other as participants in the practice of testimony, as constituted by its epistemic aims. Lastly, I consider whether hermeneutical injustice, the other kind of epistemic injustice discussed by Fricker, counts as a distinctively epistemic injustice on the same terms. I argue that it does not. Consequently, I propose that the term "epistemic injustice" can be used to pick out two separate concepts: that of an injustice which concerns epistemology qua injustice, and that of an injustice which concerns epistemology more broadly as a phenomenon.

Chair: Lena Mudry
Time: 12:00-12:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: HS E.002

Kimon Sourlas-Kotzamanis 
(University of Oxford, )

Testability and Meaning deco