Archives For Miranda Fricker

Author Information: Ben Sherman, Brandeis University, shermanb@brandeis.edu

Sherman, Ben. “Learning How to Think Better: A Response to Davidson and Kelly.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 3 (2016): 48-53.

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My thanks to Davidson and Kelly for their reply to my paper.[1] I am grateful on two counts in particular:  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Lacey J. Davidson, Purdue University, davidsl@purdue.edu; Daniel R. Kelly, Purdue University, drkelly@purdue.edu

Davidson, Lacey J. and Daniel R. Kelly. “Intuition, Judgment, and the Space Between: A Reply to Sherman.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 11 (2015): 15-20.

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“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” —John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Sherman (2015) agrees with Fricker (2007) that there is a problem, but disagrees about what to do about it. The problem is epistemic injustice, failing to take others as seriously as they deserve to be taken in matters epistemic, a form of miscalculation whose effects can not only stabilize and strengthen types of injustice that already exist, including types of inequality, prejudice, discrimination, but that can potentially produce new forms of injustice as well. Fricker sketches an account of testimonial justice, a virtue that, when properly nourished, she claims can serve as a corrective to epistemic injustice. Sherman is skeptical on many counts: that attempts to achieve testimonial justice would help —indeed, he worries that they would actually backfire and hinder the fight against epistemic injustice; that testimonial justice as depicted by Fricker is in fact a virtue; and that the virtue-theoretic framework via which Fricker expresses her notion of testimonial justice is generally viable anyway. Our reply to Sherman is broadly Frickerian in spirit, though the position we take departs Fricker’s own. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Charles W. Mills, Northwestern University, c-mills@northwestern.edu

Mills, Charles W. “White Ignorance and Hermeneutical Injustice: A Comment on Medina and Fricker.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 1 (2013): 38-43.

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In my “White Ignorance” (Mills 2007), I welcomed the development within formal epistemology of social epistemology, and the advent of journals like Social Epistemology, while complaining that the authors in this new branch of epistemology seemed in general to be working with a concept of the social that excluded social oppression. So I should begin by saying how delighted I am to find my essay being discussed years later in none other than Social Epistemology (and the Review Collective) itself — and by two philosophers, Miranda Fricker and José Medina, whose recent books (Fricker 2007; Medina 2013) I see as exemplary challenges to this unfortunate pattern of exclusion. I would claim that in the same way that the “ideal theory” famous from John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1999) has oriented — or, in my view, mis-oriented — philosophical discussions of social justice, so its epistemic analogue has arguably mis-oriented philosophical discussions of social epistemology.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Miranda Fricker, University of Sheffield, m.fricker@sheffield.ac.uk

Fricker, Miranda. 2013. “How is hermeneutical injustice related to ‘white ignorance’? Reply to José Medina’s ‘Hermeneutical Injustice and Polyphonic Contextualism: Social Silences and Shared Hermeneutical Responsibilities’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (8): 49-53.

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I have learned an enormous amount from all the discussions of epistemic injustice in the Review and Reply Collective, and I have found it virtually impossible to know how to intervene. However, something in José Medina’s discussion of hermeneutical injustice and, in particular, its relation to the phenomenon that Charles Mills has termed ‘white ignorance’, has opened up an issue to which I feel I can make a contribution. That is, despite being unsure about how best to relate the phenomenon I wrote about under the head ‘hermeneutical injustice’ to the phenomenon of white ignorance[1] (something Gaile Pohlhaus has also written about under the more generic label ‘willful hermeneutical ignorance’), I am inclined to express some disagreement with the direction Medina wants to take the category ‘hermeneutical injustice’. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Laura Beeby, California State University, Fullerton, lbeeby@fullerton.edu

Beeby, Laura. 2012. Collective resources and collectivity: A reply to José Medina Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 1 (11): 12-15.

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I am grateful to José Medina for his thoughtful response to my concerns about abandoning the notion of a broadly shared hermeneutical resource.[1] This notion of a shared resource, opened up so nicely by Fricker’s work, will be of interest to anyone concerned with how we manage to share our thoughts with one another — both in terms of shared understandings and in terms of shared conversations.[2] Without some shared set of meanings, concepts, terms, or practices, these fundamental capacities for communication and understanding become impossible for us. The questions under discussion in my exchanges with Medina are about how we share our collective resource, and with whom we do the sharing. Medina’s comments provide helpful clarification about these questions, and they promise to move the debate forward in several ways. Continue Reading…

Author Information: James McCollum, Saint Louis University, jim.mccollum@gmail.com

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McCollum, James. 2012. Fleshing out the structural aspects of hermeneutical injustice. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 1 (9): 33-36

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Sandra Marshall (2012) puts pressure on several aspects of my account of hermeneutical injustice in the social sciences. Her comments are useful and give me an opportunity to broaden the scope of my research. Her most significant concern, from my point of view, is whether the social sciences and the bureaucratic epistemes that they underwrite actually constitute hermeneutical injustice.

Hermeneutical injustice is, in Fricker’s words, “the injustice of having some significant area of one’s social experience obscured from collective understanding owing to persistent and wide-ranging hermeneutical marginalization.” (Fricker 2007, 154) This injustice, because it is conceptual in nature, affects the way we interpret our world and render our experiences intelligible to others. Marshall rightly highlights the intelligibility condition of hermeneutical injustice, for it is not merely a refusal to hear a complaint but a failure, a structural failure, to understand a certain form of harm. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Simon Căbulea May, Florida State University, smay@fsu.edu

May, Simon Căbulea. 2012. Bohman on domination and epistemic injustice. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 1 (8): 7-12

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Miranda Fricker (2007) claims that an individual suffers an epistemic injustice when she is wronged in her capacity as a knower. Fricker identifies two main forms of epistemic injustice. Testimonial injustice occurs when an individual’s credibility is diminished because her audience holds an identity prejudice against people like her. Hermeneutical injustice occurs when an individual cannot properly articulate her experiences or interests insofar as the interpretive resources available in the social environment are oriented towards the experiences and interests of others. In both cases, the individual is harmed as a contributor to the collective production and dissemination of knowledge. Virtuous epistemic agents manifest epistemic justice by detecting and correcting identity prejudices and by being alert to the presence and effects of hermeneutical impoverishment.

James Bohman (2012) proposes a republican conception of epistemic injustice as an alternative to Fricker’s virtue theoretical account. The key element in Bohman’s approach is the concept of domination, one of the central concepts in republican political theory more generally. He claims that all cases of epistemic injustice involve forms of domination (2012: 182-83), and that institutional mechanisms of non-domination are accordingly necessary to remedy epistemic injustice. In essence, Fricker’s account needs a more robust political dimension, one that republican thought stands ready to provide. I agree with Bohman that there are important connections between domination and epistemic injustice. Nevertheless, I am not persuaded by his characterisation of these connections. In what follows, I briefly set out Bohman’s account of domination and then critically discuss three interpretations of the relationship between domination and epistemic injustice suggested by his discussion: Continue Reading…

Author Information: Laura Beeby, California State University at Fullerton, laurabeebyis@googlemail.com

Beeby, Laura . 2012. “Reply to José Medina” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 1 (6): 27-30.

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In “Hermeneutical Injustice and Polyphonic Contextualism: Social Silences and Shared Responsibilities”, José Medina suggests some refinements to Miranda Fricker’s notion of hermeneutical injustice. As Medina sees it, Fricker “pays insufficient attention to the interactive and performative dimension of hermeneutical injustice, which is treated [by Fricker] mainly as a semantic phenomenon concerning the intelligibility of experiential contents”. [1] While Fricker develops the idea of hermeneutical injustice as “the injustice of having some significant area of one’s social experience obscured from collective understanding” [2], Medina wants us to consider the thought that the notion of a collective understanding may be insufficiently complex to capture the social dynamics present in so many of our communicative exchanges. I think Medina is right to point out some difficulties presented by the idea of a collective understanding. However, I don’t think these difficulties necessarily preclude us from making any use of the idea at all.

First, let’s look at some background to the idea of a collective understanding. In her account of hermeneutical injustice, Miranda Fricker draws our attention to one disadvantage stemming from women’s situation within an unjustly structured society. This particular disadvantage has to do with something that Fricker calls ‘social power’ and its influence on what she calls ‘collective forms of social understanding’. Continue Reading…

Author Information: John ChristmanPenn State University, jchristman@psu.edu

Allwood, Carl. 2012. ” On the virtues of an empirically oriented culture concept and on the limitations of too general and abstract characterizations of understanding” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 1 (6): 21-26.

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As a way of adding to the productive dialogue between Miranda Fricker and Elizabeth Anderson, the latter commenting on Fricker’s important book Epistemic Injustice, I want to explore the main claims of Prof. Anderson’s paper, and to point to ways the dialogue can be continued.[1] I have little to say by way of critique as such, but I do want to suggest directions that such further dialogue might need to proceed.

Anderson’s response to Fricker’s insightful analysis of epistemic injustice relies on the distinction between transactional injustice – wrongs committed locally at the site of individual or dyadic transactions – and structural injustice – injustice manifested at the social or institutional level. Anderson argues that contrary to Fricker’s focus on individual virtue as a response to both testimonial and hermeneutical epistemic injustice, some epistemic harms must be corrected at the collective, policy level – i.e., structurally. Anderson focuses on testimonial injustice, but her point can be stated also about hermeneutical injustice as well. Continue Reading…

Author Information: David Coady, University of Tasmania, David.Coady@utas.edu.au

Coady, David. 2012. Critical reply to “Culpability for Epistemic Injustice: Deontic or Aretetic?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 1 (5): 3-6.

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Culpability for Epistemic Injustice: Deontic of Aretetic?” is an excellent piece of constructive criticism of Miranda Fricker’s important work on testimonial injustice. I agree with much that Riggs says. In particular, I agree with him that Fricker’s work on this subject owes more to the Kantian deontological tradition than it does to the Aristotelian virtue ethical tradition. In what follows, I will take issue, not with the substance of Riggs’ article, but with some subsidiary points, which, I think, are of some importance. Continue Reading…