Testifying Bodies: Testimonial Injustice as Derivatization

Social Epistemology 33 (2):111-123 (2019)
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Abstract

Human beings as objects, and we are objects inter alia, offer information, even knowledge. And yet, in a society marked by pervasive identity prejudice, even objects do not offer neutral facts. Here, I argue that the harms imposed on those who suffer testimonial injustices cannot be sufficiently understood through the ethical lens of objectification. Such persons are not simply objectified, not simply treated as mere sources of information rather than as informants. Even as objects (not mere objects), they are often unable to testify on their own behalf or testify to true facts of the matter. Rather than follow Miranda Fricker’s argument that testimonial injustices are acts of objectification, I argue that they are better understood as acts of what Ann Cahill calls derivatization. A re-examination of Fricker’s account of the wrong of testimonial injustice as derivatizing rather than objectifying clarifies the wrong of epistemic injustice, reinforces the mutuality of testimonial exchanges where both the speaker and listener are actively engaged and obligated to participate well to succeed, and opens up a discussion of how even when being treated as a source of information, informants can be mistreated.

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Author's Profile

Carolyn Cusick
California State University, Fresno

Citations of this work

Testimonial Injustice and the Nature of Epistemic Injustice (3rd edition).Emily McWilliams - forthcoming - In Kurt Sylvan, Ernest Sosa, Jonathan Dancy & Matthias Steup (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley Blackwell.
Testimonial Injustice and Mutual Recognition.Lindsay Crawford - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Epistemic Injustice and Illness.Ian James Kidd & Havi Carel - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (2):172-190.
Epistemic dependence.John Hardwig - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (7):335-349.
Objectification.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1995 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (4):249-291.

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