Epistemic harm and virtues of self-evaluation

Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1691-1709 (2018)
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Abstract

Miranda Fricker identifies a specific kind of epistemic harm that comes from assigning diminished credibility to others; when this is the result of identity prejudice it results in testimonial injustice. Fricker argues that this kind of injustice follows only from assigning diminished credibility to a person; assigning inflated credibility is never a testimonial injustice. In this paper I examine and expand arguments to the effect that assigning inflated credibility to one person can epistemically harm another. I extend this argument to self-evaluation. Psychological research on the overconfidence bias reveals ways in which we may systematically assign too much epistemic credibility to ourselves. However, our biases are not simple; they have a complex pattern revealed by the Dunning–Kruger effect. I will argue that we need to develop virtues of self-evaluation help counteract our self-bias. These virtues will be an important tool in helping us to avoid committing epistemic injustice to ourselves and to others.

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Sarah Wright
University of Georgia

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