SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

The Credit you Deserve. On the Basis of Testimonial Injustice
(Epistemology, )

In cases of testimonial injustice, a hearer downplays the credibility of a speaker based on some social-identity prejudice. Hence, the epistemic assessment in play is, in some sense, "unfair". The phenomenon of "unfair" levels of credibility attributions goes beyond paradigmatic instances of testimonial injustice. For instance, the hearer's deception of the speaker's credibility could stem from some prejudice towards this particular person, independent of her social-identity. But what constitutes an "unfair" credibility attribution? Or, on the other hand, what would make a credibility attribution "fair"? In my talk, I will elaborate on these questions. First, I will discuss and dismiss several candidates for an appropriate analysis. For instance, for an ascription of credibility to be "fair" in the required sense, it appears to be neither necessary, nor sufficient that the assigned credibility matches the actual epistemic merits of the speaker. Maybe the speaker is an expert on the issue, but remains very secretive about her skills. Hence, a diminished credibility judgement by a potential listener is not easily criticisable. Or consider a scenario in which a hearer bases her assessment of a speaker's credibility on some identity-prejudice, but, maybe for very different reasons, the level of credibility she assigns fits the actual epistemic merits of the speaker. Here, the credibility judgement seems "unfair". After going through some of the most promising candidates, I will turn towards my own attempt to analyse "unfair" credibility assignments and defend it against some objections. Taking some inspiration from Sandy Goldberg's work, I define these sorts of "unfair" assessments as being based on an epistemically improper process. I will close my talk with a short sketch of some potential areas of application of this analysis, e.g. whether or not science deniers are "unfair" in their assessment of the credibility of certain scientists and scientific institutions.

Chair: Simon Graf
Time: 16:50-17:20, 09 September 2021 (Thursday)
Location: HS E.002
Remark: (Online Talk)

Michael Vollmer 
(University of Innsbruck, )



Testability and Meaning deco