Resources, Rules, and Oppression

Hypatia 34 (4):619-643 (2019)
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Abstract

There is a large and growing literature on communal interpretive resources: the concepts, theories, narratives, and so on that a community draws on in interpreting its members and their world. (They're also called “hermeneutical resources” in some places and “epistemic resources” in others.) Several recent contributions to this literature have concerned dominant and resistant interpretive resources and how they affect concrete lived interactions. In this article, I note that “using” interpretive resources—applying them to parts of the world in conversation with others—is “a rule‐governed activity”; and I propose that in oppressive systems, these rules are influenced by the rules of oppression. Section I clarifies some rules governing the use of resources. Section II draws on work by Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr. and others to suggest that according to the present rules of our oppressive system, it is permissible for dominantly situated speakers to dismiss interpretive resources developed in marginalized communities. Section III appeals to Charles Mills's work on White ignorance to propose, further, that our system's rules make it impermissible and deserving of punishment to use resistant resources. The conclusion enumerates several further points about such rules governing the use of interpretive resources, their social effects, and some philosophical literatures.

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Jeff Engelhardt
Dickinson College

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References found in this work

Scorekeeping in a language game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
White Ignorance.Charles Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan & Nancy Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11-38.
Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (3):339.

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