Hermeneutical Justice for Extremists?

In Leo Townsend, Ruth Rebecca Tietjen, Hans Bernhard Schmid & Michael Staudigl (eds.), The Philosophy of Fanaticism: Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions. New York: Routledge. pp. 88-108 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


When we encounter extremist rhetoric, we often find it dumbfounding, incredible, or straightforwardly unintelligible. For this reason, it can be tempting to dismiss or ignore it, at least where it is safe to do so. The problem discussed in this paper is that such dismissals may be, at least in certain circumstances, epistemically unjust. Specifically, it appears that recent work on the phenomenon of hermeneutical injustice compels us to accept two unpalatable conclusions: first, that this failure of intelligibility when we encounter extremist rhetoric may be a manifestation of a hermeneutical injustice; and second, that remedying this injustice requires that we ought to become more engaged with and receptive of extremist worldviews. Whilst some theorists might interpret this as a reductio of this framework of epistemic in/justice, we push back against this conclusion. First, we argue that with a suitably amended conception of hermeneutical justice—one that is sensitive to the contextual nature of our hermeneutical responsibilities, and to the difference between understanding a worldview and accepting it—we can bite the bullet and accept that certain extremists are subject to hermeneutical injustice, but without committing ourselves to any unpalatable conclusions about how we ought to remedy these injustices. Second, we argue that bringing the framework of hermeneutical in/justice to bear upon the experience of certain extremists actually provides a new and useful perspective on one of the causes of extremism, and how it might be undermined.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Hermeneutical Justice in Fricker, Dotson, and Arendt.Magnus Ferguson - 2020 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (1):21-34.
A Critique of Hermeneutical Injustice.Laura Beeby - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):479-486.


Added to PP

90 (#145,916)

6 months
50 (#35,140)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Trystan S. Goetze
Harvard University
Charlie Crerar
University of Sheffield

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression.Kristie Dotson - 2012 - Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 33 (1):24-47.

Add more references