There’s No Justice: Why Pursuit of a Virtue is Not the Solution to Epistemic Injustice

Social Epistemology 30 (3):229-250 (2016)
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Abstract

Miranda Fricker’s book Epistemic Injustice calls attention to an important sort of moral and intellectual wrongdoing, that of failing to give others their intellectual due. When we fail to recognize others’ knowledge, or undervalue their beliefs and judgments, we fail in two important respects. First, we miss out on the opportunity to improve and refine our own sets of beliefs and judgments. Second—and more relevant to the term “injustice”—we can deny people the intellectual respect they deserve. Along with describing the wrong of epistemic injustice, Fricker proposes that epistemic justice is a virtue we “can, and should, aim for in practice”. But I argue that there are two major problems. First, it is not clear that it is reasonable to imagine there is any such stable disposition—that is, any such virtue—as the sort of justice she imagines. Second, even if there could be such a virtue, her theory of epistemic justice does not provide good guidance for avoiding epistemic injustice. While it could..

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Benjamin Sherman
Boston University

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