Prejudice in Testimonial Justification: A Hinge Account

Episteme 1 (Early view):1-18 (2021)
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Although research on epistemic injustice has focused on the effects of prejudice in epistemic exchanges, the account of prejudice that emerges in Fricker’s (2007) view is not completely clear. In particular, I claim that the epistemic role of prejudice in the structure of testimonial justification is still in need of a satisfactory explanation. What special epistemic power does prejudice exercise that prevents the speaker’s words from constituting evidence for the hearer’s belief? By clarifying this point, it will be possible to address two more general issues concerning the nature of prejudice: its resistance to counterevidence and the steps involved in overcoming prejudice. I propose a hinge account of prejudice, based on the recent perspective of hinge epistemology, to help clarify these aspects. According to the hinge account, prejudices share a fundamental feature with hinges: they work as norms of evidential significance, and as such, they determine what can and cannot count as evidence for belief.

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Anna Boncompagni
University of California, Irvine


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