Epistemic injustice

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Epistemic injustice refers to unfairness due to aspects of knowledge (the domain of epistemology), how it is communicated, and how it is understood.[1] The term was coined by Miranda Fricker in 2007, but its meaning has since evolved,[2] and the concept's origins can be traced to discussions about oppression, power and knowledge from long before the term was coined.[2]

Concept[edit]

In Fricker's 2007 book Epistemic injustice: power and the ethics of knowing, she defines two kinds of epistemic injustice: testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice.[3] According to Fricker, testimonial injustice occurs when someone's knowledge is ignored or not believed because that person is the member of a particular social group[3] (such as a woman, or African-American). A hermeneutical injustice occurs when someone's experience is not understood (by them or by others) because there are no concepts available that can adequately identify or explain that experience.[3] 

Other scholars have expanded what the term epistemic injustice includes. These contributions have included naming kinds of epistemic injustice such as epistemic oppression,[4] epistemic exploitation,[5] silencing as testimonial quieting and as testimonial smothering,[6] contributory injustice,[7] distributive epistemic injustice[8] , and epistemic trust injustice.[9]  Developments in the literature on epistemic injustice has also included José Medina's push for an account that incorporates more voices and pays attention to context and the relationships at play,[10] as well as Elizabeth S. Anderson's argument for looking more closely at structural causes and structural remedies of epistemic injustice.[11] A closely related literature on epistemologies of ignorance has also been developing, which has included the identification of overlapping concepts such as white ignorance[12][13] and willful hermeneutical ignorance.[14]

Some scholars, including Kristie Dotson, have warned about the risks of limiting the field of epistemic injustice through definitions that could leave out important contributions to the discussion.[15] Gaile Pohlhaus Jr. argues that this means that the concept should be considered an open one, and many different approaches to the concept should be considered for their unique contributions in any account of the varieties of epistemic injustice.[2]

History[edit]

Although the term epistemic injustice was coined in 2007, analysis of the experience of epistemic injustice has been offered by those who experience it for a long time. Vivian May points as far back as the 1800s, to Anna Julia Cooper writing in 1892 about the suppression of Black women's ideas[16] and Sojourner Truth speaking in 1867 about Black women being denied recognition as knowers because they given as much cognitive authority.[16] Pohlhaus Jr. points to Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak's 1988 Can the Subaltern Speak? as another example. In that piece, Spivak describes what she calls epistemic violence occurring when subaltern persons are prevented from speaking for themselves about their own interests because of others claiming to know what those interests are.[17]

Miranda Fricker's book introducing the term epistemic injustice was published in 2007. In 2017, the Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice was published, compiling chapters addressing both the theoretical work on the concept and efforts to apply that theory to practical case studies.[18]

The term epistemic injustice has also been used by Rajeev Bhargava, an Indian political theorist, to describe how colonized groups were wronged when colonizing powers replaced or in some other way negatively impacted the concepts and categories that colonized groups used to understand themselves and the world.[19]

Selected philosophers[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Fricker, Miranda (2007). Epistemic injustice: power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198237907.
  • Kidd, Ian James, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus Jr. (2017). The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge. ISBN 9781138828254.
  • Medina, José (2013). The epistemology of resistance : gender and racial oppression, epistemic injustice, and resistant imaginations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199929023.

Journal articles[edit]

  • Anderson, Elizabeth S. (2012). "Epistemic Justice as a Virtue of Social Institutions". Social Epistemology. 26 (2): 163–173. doi:10.1080/02691728.2011.652211. ISSN 0269-1728.
  • Dotson, Kristie (2012). "A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression". Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. 33 (1): 24–47. doi:10.5250/fronjwomestud.33.1.0024.
  • Mills, Charles. 2007. "White Ignorance" in Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance edited by Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, Philosophy and Race Series, pp. 13-38.
  • Medina, José (2011). "The Relevance of Credibility Excess in a Proportional View of Epistemic Injustice: Differential Epistemic Authority and the Social Imaginary". Social Epistemology. 25 (1): 15–35. doi:10.1080/02691728.2010.534568. ISSN 0269-1728.
  • Medina, José (2012). "Hermeneutical Injustice and Polyphonic Contextualism: Social Silences and Shared Hermeneutical Responsibilities". Social Epistemology. 26 (2): 201–220. doi:10.1080/02691728.2011.652214. ISSN 0269-1728.
  • Pohlhaus, Gaile (2011). "Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance". Hypatia. 27 (4): 715–735. doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01222.x. ISSN 0887-5367.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kidd, Ian James; Medina, José; Pohlhaus Jr., Gaile (2017). "Introduction to The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice". In Kidd, Ian James; Medina, José; Pohlhaus Jr., Gaile (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge. p. 1. doi:10.4324/9781315212043. ISBN 9781138828254. Epistemic injustice refers to those forms of unfair treatment that relate to issues of knowledge, understanding, and participation in communicative practices.
  2. ^ a b c Pohlhaus Jr., Gaile (2017). "1: Varieties of Epistemic Injustice". In Kidd, Ian James; Medina, José; Pohlhaus Jr., Gaile (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge. pp. 13–26. doi:10.4324/9781315212043. ISBN 9781138828254.
  3. ^ a b c Miranda., Fricker (2007). Epistemic injustice : power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford University Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780198237907. OCLC 729949179.
  4. ^ Dotson, Kristie (2014). "Conceptualizing Epistemic Oppression". Social Epistemology. 28 (2): 115–138. doi:10.1080/02691728.2013.782585. ISSN 0269-1728.
  5. ^ Berenstain, Nora, 2016. “Epistemic Exploitation,” Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy, 3(22). doi:10.3998/ergo.12405314.0003.022
  6. ^ Dotson, Kristie. 2011. "Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing" Hypatia 26 (2): 236-257.
  7. ^ Dotson, Kristie (2012). "A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression". Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. 33 (1): 24–47. doi:10.5250/fronjwomestud.33.1.0024.
  8. ^ Coady, David. 2010. "Two Concepts of Epistemic Injustice" Episteme 7(2): 101-113.
  9. ^ Grasswick, Heidi. 2017. "Epistemic Injustice in Science" in the Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice edited by Ian James Kidd, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus Jr. Routledge. ISBN 9781138828254.
  10. ^ Medina, José (2012). "Hermeneutical Injustice and Polyphonic Contextualism: Social Silences and Shared Hermeneutical Responsibilities". Social Epistemology. 26 (2): 201–220. doi:10.1080/02691728.2011.652214. ISSN 0269-1728.
  11. ^ Anderson, Elizabeth S. (2012). "Epistemic Justice as a Virtue of Social Institutions". Social Epistemology. 26 (2): 163–173. doi:10.1080/02691728.2011.652211. ISSN 0269-1728.
  12. ^ Mills, Charles. 2007. "White Ignorance," in Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana (eds), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance (Albany, NY: SUNY Press), Philosophy and Race Series, pp. 13–38
  13. ^ Mills, Charles. 2017. "Ideology" in the Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice edited by Kidd, Ian James, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus Jr. Routledge. ISBN 9781138828254.
  14. ^ Pohlhaus Jr., Gaile (2011). "Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance". Hypatia. 27 (4): 715–735. doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01222.x. ISSN 0887-5367.
  15. ^ Dotson, Kristie (2012). "A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression". Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. 33 (1): 24–47. doi:10.5250/fronjwomestud.33.1.0024. JSTOR 10.5250/fronjwomestud.33.1.0024.
  16. ^ a b May, Vivian M. (2013-10-11). ""Speaking into the Void"? Intersectionality Critiques and Epistemic Backlash". Hypatia. 29 (1): 94–112. doi:10.1111/hypa.12060. ISSN 0887-5367.
  17. ^ Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (1988), "Can the Subaltern Speak?", Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Macmillan Education UK, pp. 271–313, doi:10.1007/978-1-349-19059-1_20, ISBN 9780333462768
  18. ^ Kidd, Ian James; Medina, José; Pohlhaus Jr., Gaile, eds. (2017). Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315212043. ISBN 9781138828254.
  19. ^ Bhargava, Rajeev. 2013. “Overcoming the Epistemic Injustice of Colonialism.” Global Policy 4 (4): 413–17. https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12093.