"A Little of Her Language": Epistemic Injustice and Mental Disability

Res Philosophica 93 (4):669-691 (2016)
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In this essay, I argue that certain injustices faced by mentally disabled persons are epistemic injustices by drawing upon epistemic injustice literature, especially as it is developed by Miranda Fricker. First, I explain the terminology and arguments developed by Fricker, Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr., and Kristie Dotson that are useful in theorizing epistemic injustices against mentally disabled people. Second, I consider some specific cases of epistemic injustice to which mentally disabled persons are subject. Third, I turn to a discussion of severely mentally disabled persons who, because they are unable to share information or develop interpretations of shared social experiences, may fall outside Fricker’s discussion of epistemic injustice. Fourth and finally, following arguments given by Kristie Dotson and Christopher Hookway, I define and explain a type of epistemic injustice: intimate hermeneutical injustice that I believe supplements other discussions of epistemic injustice.



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Josh Dohmen
Mississippi University for Women