Collective Amnesia and Epistemic Injustice

In J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, S. Orestis Palermos & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Socially Extended Epistemology. Oxford, UK: pp. 195-219 (2016)
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Abstract

Communities often respond to traumatic events in their histories by destroying objects that would cue memories of a past they wish to forget and by building artefacts which memorialize a new version of their history. Hence, it would seem, communities cope with change by spreading memory ignorance so to allow new memories to take root. This chapter offers an account of some aspects of this phenomenon and of its epistemological consequences. Specifically, it is demonstrated in this chapter that collective forgetfulness is harmful. Here, the focus is exclusively on the harms caused by its contribution to undermining the intellectual self-trust of some members of the community. Further, since some of these harms are also wrongs, collective amnesia contributes to causing epistemic injustices.

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Alessandra Tanesini
Cardiff University

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