Epistemic Injustice

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology (2020)
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Abstract

Suppose a jury rejects a Black defendant’s testimony because they believe that Black people are often untrustworthy. Or suppose the male members of a board reject a female colleague’s suggestions because they believe that women are too often irrational. Imagine also a woman whose postpartum depression is dismissed by her doctor as mere ‘baby blues.’ All these three people suffer what contemporary English philosopher Miranda Fricker calls epistemic injustice. Epistemic injustice refers to a wrong done to someone as a knower or transmitter of knowledge: due to unjustified prejudice, someone is unfairly judged to not have the knowledge or reasonable beliefs that they actually have. Fricker identifies two forms of epistemic injustice: testimonial and hermeneutical. This essay explains these forms of epistemic injustice and surveys some suggestions for how to prevent them.

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Huzeyfe Demirtas
Syracuse University

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