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A cautionary tale: on limiting epistemic oppression.

I cannot recall the words of my first poem

but I remember a promise

I made my pen

never to leave it


in somebody else's blood.

Audre Lorde, "To the Poet Who Happens to Be Black and the Black Poet Who Happens to Be a Woman" (1)


In this paper, first and foremost, I aim to issue a caution. Specifically, I caution that when addressing and identifying forms of epistemic oppression one needs to endeavor not to perpetuate epistemic oppression. Epistemic oppression, here, refers to epistemic exclusions afforded positions and communities that produce deficiencies in social knowledge. An epistemic exclusion, in this analysis, is an infringement on the epistemic agency of knowers that reduces her or his ability to participate in a given epistemic community.' Epistemic agency will concern the ability to utilize persuasively shared epistemic resources within a given epistemic community in order to participate in knowledge production and, if required, the revision of those same resources? A compromise to epistemic agency, when unwarranted, damages not only individual knowers but also the state of social knowledge and shared epistemic resources.

Unfortunately, avoiding unwarranted epistemic exclusions is an exceedingly difficult task. It may well be impossible. For example, we simply do not have the capacity to track all the implications of our positions on any given issue, which would, arguably, be necessary to avoid epistemic oppression entirely. This realization relegates efforts to be conscious of and minimize epistemic oppression to a kind of na vet characteristic of utopian dreamers who advocate pie-in-the-sky goals achievable only in theory. Like many forms of pessimism, pessimism about epistemic fairness assumes an all-or-nothing stance. Either we can eliminate epistemic oppression entirely, or we can do nothing about epistemic oppression at all. This position is an obvious over-simplification of the many options available. One can advocate for better, more responsible epistemic conduct capable of reducing epistemic oppression, without also harboring unrealistic expectations for superior epistemic conduct and abilities necessary for eliminating epistemic oppression entirely. In this vein here I issue a caution and a proposal for minimizing epistemic oppression.

To issue this caution, I take Miranda Fricker's book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing as a paradigmatic case of the challenges that arise when attempting to avoid epistemic oppression, even while drawing attention to epistemic forms of oppression. (4) By bringing attention to specifically epistemic forms of injustice, Fricker's work offers a strong and valuable contribution to a tradition of feminist thought that aims to highlight the observation that "when it comes to knowledge, women get hurt." (5) However, her framing of epistemic bad luck as an antithesis to epistemic injustice conceptually forecloses the possibility of other forms of epistemic injustice and hence can be used to demonstrate the pervasiveness of epistemic oppression. Fricker, I claim, inadvertently perpetrates epistemic oppression by utilizing a closed conceptual structure to identify epistemic injustice. This limitation of Fricker's view illustrates the difficulty of avoiding epistemic oppression and demonstrates an avenue for reducing it in one's own analyses.

This paper will proceed in two parts. First, I introduce Fricker's two forms of epistemic injustice, testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice, and a third form of epistemic injustice, contributory injustice. I will also briefly gesture to the pervasive nature of epistemic oppression. Second, I use Fricker's concept of epistemic bad luck as a contemporary example of how easy it is to perpetrate epistemic oppression, even while working to address epistemic oppression. Specifically, I show how Fricker's account deploys a closed conceptual structure that prematurely forecloses the possibility of alternative forms of epistemic injustice, like contributory injustice, and thereby perpetuates epistemic oppression. Ultimately, the strengths and limitations of Fricker's efforts to outline epistemic injustice highlight a need to move toward open conceptual structures that signify without absolute foreclosure so as to reduce the continued propagation of epistemic oppression.


In this section I introduce three forms of epistemic injustice. They are: (1) testimonial injustice, (2) hermeneutical injustice, and (3) contributory injustice. For each form of epistemic injustice I offer a definition, an example, and the level of change required to address the injustice. To illustrate the changes necessary to address each form of injustice, I use the order-of-change model from organizational development, that is, first-, second-, or third-order change; as a heuristic. Using the order-of-change heuristic aids in distinguishing between the different forms of epistemic injustice introduced. that is, the three forms of epistemic injustice described in this section can be shown to be distinct forms by identifying the kinds of changes each minimally requires for justice.

First-Order Epistemic Injustice: Testimonial Injustice

Fricker's testimonial injustice is the first form of epistemic injustice that I will outline. Fricker defines testimonial injustice as the epistemic injustice that "occurs when prejudice causes a hearer to give a deflated level of credibility to a speaker's word," (6) Prejudice, here, refers to a negative identity-prejudicial stereotype that affects the perception of hearers concerning a speaker's credibility. Pricker defines a "negative identity-prejudicial stereotype" as
  a widely held disparaging association between a social group and one
  or more attributes, where this association embodies a generalization
  that displays some (typically, epistemically culpable) resistance to
  counter-evidence owing to an ethically bad affective investment. (7)

A prejudicial stereotype is resistant to counterevidence as a result of "an ethically bad affective investment." Patricia Williams's Benetton shop can illustrate Fricker's understanding of testimonial injustice.

When commenting upon the buzzer-entry phenomenon in New York shops, Patricia Williams, in her book The Alchemy of Race and Rights, describes an encounter with anti-black racism. In attempting to shop at the SoHo Benetton's, Williams was denied entry at one o'clock in the afternoon, during the Christmas shopping season, even though there were a number of white patrons shopping in the store. Williams identifies no reason for being refused entry into the shop other than racial prejudice.' As Williams explains, being excluded from the shop was due to certain social beliefs about what she, as an African American woman, represented; that is, she represented undesirable patronage.

The actual incident of racial discrimination in the store, however, is not where Williams experiences testimonial injustice. Rather, her experience of testimonial injustice follows from the responses she received when attempting to tell her story to others. Williams describes being unwarrantedly stripped of credibility on a number of occasions. For example, she identifies being afforded a credibility deficit when a Stanford Law School class reviewed one of Williams's articles attempting to describe her experience and its legal ramifications:
  A rumor got started that the Benetton's (Soho shop) story wasn't true,
  that I had made it up, that it was a fantasy, a lie that was probably
  the product of a diseased mind trying to make all white people feel
  At this point I realized it almost didn't make any difference
  whether I was telling the truth or not--that the greater issue I
  had to face was the overwhelming weight of a disbelief that goes
  beyond mere disinclination to believe and becomes active suppression
  of anything I might have to say. The greater problem is a powerfully
  oppressive mechanism for denial of self-knowledge and expression.
  And this denial cannot be separated from the simultaneously
  pathological willingness to believe certain things about
  blacks--not believe them, but things about them. (9)

There are many problems that Williams faces when attempting to testify to her experience of racial prejudice that followed from an automatic disinclination to believe her testimony; that is, her unwarranted credibility deficit. Williams maintains that the continual questioning of her credibility in her attempt to testify to her experience in Benetton is indicative of stereotypes that label African Americans "liars" and "paranoid." If African Americans, as a social group, are seen as "liars," "paranoid," or other negative-identity prejudicial stereotypes, then those holding these stereotypes will face difficulties in perceiving the credibility of African American testifiers. Being given the designation of "liar," due to one's racial group, seriously hinders a testifier's ability to appear trustworthy even if she is. In turn, perceiving that all African Americans are "paranoid" will make it difficult for a listener to perceive a testifier like Williams as competent. In this way Williams describes being divested of credibility via what is believed about her.

The credibility deficit, given as a result of negative prejudicial stereotypes, is only part of Pricker's definition of testimonial injustice. On her account knowers who perpetrate testimonial injustice also hold ethically bad affective investments in negatively stereotyping another group. To understand this criterion for testimonial injustice, one need only imagine all of the ethically suspicious reasons one could have to hold the judgment that African Americans are liars or paranoid, especially when testifying to continued racial discrimination. Williams offers an account of the "bad affective investments" of her audience. She identifies an oppressive investment in the "denial of self-knowledge and expression" in the guise of "neutrality" that preserves a willful ignorance of racial discrimination and other social ills.' (10) The value of neutrality, according to Williams, aids in preserving a state of not knowing and not wanting to know about racial discrimination by demanding the suppression of genuine accounts of racial discrimination. (11) Certainly, it is much easier to brand Williams a liar and paranoid than it is to face the persistence of racial prejudice in the United States, especially when an epistemic standard, like neutrality, can be used to maintain one's willful ignorance.

According to Pricker, testimonial injustice harms targeted groups in their "capacity as knowers." (12) Williams, then, is harmed in her capacity as a knower insofar as she is hindered from being seen as a credible source on her experience of racial discrimination, in certain contexts. (13) To address testimonial injustice, at minimum, one needs to pursue first-order changes or single-loop directives. A first-order change requires interventions that "focus on solving problems so that established patterns can function more effectively" (14) For example, addressing problems of unwarranted credibility deficits requires reform within the framework where credibility still confers authority. The function and value of credibility are not challenged. Rather, how we confer credibility and, quite possibly, when credibility assessments should be allowed need to be addressed. It is for this reason that Pricker advocates developing a reflexive, critical, testimonial sensibility. (15) What is required to address testimonial injustice, for Pricker, is a testimonial sensibility that "has been suitably reconditioned by sufficient corrective experiences so that it now reliably issues ready-corrected judgments of credibility." (16) Advocating for a testimonial sensibility is a reform that promises to make our credibility judgments more accurate but does not necessarily challenge the value of credibility. (17) The value of accurate credibility remains the same; it is how we pursue it that alters. This kind of shift in activity concerns single-loop behaviors. Kate Walsh, in her article "Interpreting the Impact of Culture on Structure," explains that single-loop behaviors can be "small, behavioral adjustments." (18) "Small adjustments" here does not connote easy adjustments. Improving one's ability to render accurate credibility assessments is no easy task, but it does not simultaneously require an uprooting of the value of credibility as such. Because testimonial injustice does not necessarily demand that we jettison the value of credibility for establishing epistemic authority, testimonial injustice can be addressed with first-order changes. That makes it a first-order epistemic injustice. As a result, what is required to address testimonial injustice and faulty credibility assessments are "incremental modifications that make sense within an established framework." (19)

Second-Order Epistemic Injustice: Hermeneutical Injustice

For Fricker an agent always inflicts testimonial injustice. However, in Fricker's second form of epistemic injustice an agent is only a tool within some so-cioepistemic structure. Fricker calls this structural form of epistemic injustice hermeneutical injustice. Hermeneutical injustice is defined as "the injustice of having some significant area of one's social experience obscured from collective understanding owing to a structural identity prejudice in the collective hermeneutical resource." (20) Now a structural-identity prejudice is quite different from a negative-identity prejudicial stereotype. A structural-identity prejudice is not primarily located within the cognitive landscape of individual perceivers per se. It exists within collective hermeneutical resources themselves. That is to say, our resources for making sense of our worlds can become discriminatory due to an asymmetrical ability of some groups to affect the ways in which a given society makes sense of the world. I take Fricker's concept of hermeneutical resources to be akin to Gaile Pohlhaus's concept of epistemic resources. In her article "Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice," Pohlhaus writes, "Knowing requires resources of the mind, such as language to formulate propositions, concepts to make sense of experience, procedures to approach the world and standards to judge particular accounts of experience." (21) Fricker labels the asymmetrical ability to affect hermeneutical resources necessary for knowing hermeneutical marginalization. She writes, "when there is unequal hermeneutical participation with respect to some significant area(s) of social experience, members of the disadvantaged group are hermeneutically marginalized." (22) It bears noting that, according to Fricker, hermeneutical marginalization renders
  the collective hermeneutical resources structurally prejudiced, for it
  will tend to issue interpretations of ... [the marginalized] group's
  social experiences that are biased because [the interpretations are]
  insufficiently influenced by the subject group, and therefore unduly
  influenced by more hermeneutically powerful groups. (23)

The problem of biased hermeneutical resources is discussed often in the work of women of color. For example, Patricia Hill Collins identifies structurally prejudiced assessments of knowledge that work to suppress the knowledge of black women in the United States. (24)

Fricker's paradigmatic example of hermeneutical injustice discusses circumstances surrounding the creation of the term sexual harassment. She offers the example of Carmita Wood's experience with sexual harassment as a university employee in a nuclear physics department, as related by Susan Brownmiller. As Brownmiller explains, an "eminent man" would "jiggle his crotch when he stood near her [Wood's] desk and looked at his mail, or he'd deliberately brush against her breasts while reaching for some papers." These and other inappropriate actions caused Wood's health to erode and led her finally to quit her job in the department. (25) Wood was denied unemployment benefits due to an inability to describe her experience. A discussion held over unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, in which Wood shared her story, made it apparent that many women shared Wood's experience. The commonality of the experience and the need to represent Wood led those involved in her unemployment-benefits appeal to feel prompted to break the silence about such experiences. Breaking the silence, however, required naming the experience for the sake of ready identification. Eventually, the term sexual harassment was settled upon. (26)

As Fricker explains, the coining of the term sexual harassment exemplifies "a story about how extant collective hermeneutical resources can have a lacuna where the name of a distinctive social experience should be." (27) With respect to sexual harassment, the hermeneutical lacuna surrounding this experience enables hermeneutical injustice, and it is a lacuna equally shared by the harasser and the harassed. However, hermeneutical injustice concerns the harassed. A "hermeneutical lacuna creates an asymmetrical disadvantage for the harassee" and, as such, demonstrates the existence and harm caused by hermeneutical injustice. (28) When gaps in collective hermeneutical resources create significant and potentially harmful obstacles to diagnosing and understanding one's own experiences, one is encountering hermeneutical injustice. (29) Though the harasser and the harassed are equally subject to the lacuna, they do not suffer equally. The harassed is placed in a state of "situated hermeneutical inequality," which, for Fricker, constitutes the harm of hermeneutical injustice. (30)

In hermeneutical injustice credibility is no longer the site of epistemic injustice. Rather, the socioepistemic structures that create and sustain situated hermeneutical inequality are the problem. As Rae Langton suggests, what is required to address hermeneutical injustice is a "conceptual revolution." (31) A change or alteration in the socioepistemic structures is required. As such, to address this kind of epistemic injustice, a second-order change is required. Jean Batrunek and Michael Moch define a second-order change as "the conscious modification of present schemata in a particular direction." (32) Schemata, here, refers to frameworks that "generate shared meanings or frames of reference." They are hermeneutical resources. (33) In addressing an epistemic injustice that exists as a structural notion, as Fricker describes, the very structure itself must come under examination. The values inherent within it and the socioepistemic conditions that construct and maintain it must be interrogated. In this way hermeneutical injustice is not addressed in the activity of naming an obscured experience alone. The need for such activity simply exemplifies the existence of hermeneutical injustice. To address hermeneutical injustices, one must seek out the socioepistemic conditions that foster hermeneutical injustice. Pricker, it seems, advocates for a virtue, the virtue of hermeneutical justice, that could foster this kind of endeavor. (34) And though Langton holds suspicions about the extent to which an individually held virtue can address this form of injustice, it remains the case that addressing hermeneutical injustice minimally requires a revision of the structure itself or, as Langton puts it, a conceptual revolution. (35) Hence, second-order change, change located at the level of frameworks and structures themselves, is required in order to address hermeneutical injustice in the long term.

Third-Order Epistemic Injustice: Contributory Injustice

The third, and last, form of epistemic injustice I will identify is contributory injustice. Contributory injustice is caused by an epistemic agent's situated ignorance, in the form of willful hermeneutical ignorance, in maintaining and utilizing structurally prejudiced hermeneutical resources that result in epistemic harm to the epistemic agency of a knower. Both the structurally prejudiced or biased hermeneutical resources and the agent's situated ignorance are catalysts for contributory injustice. As such, it is located within the gray area between agential and structural perpetuation of epistemic injustice.

There are two salient differences between Fricker's hermeneutical injustice and contributory injustice that will aid in developing the concept of contributory injustice. First, Fricker seems to assume that there is but one set of collective hermeneutical resources that we are all equally dependent upon. I do not share this assumption. We do not all depend on the same hermeneutical resources. Such an assumption fails to take into account alternative epistemologies, countermythologies, and hidden transcripts that exist in hermeneutically marginalized communities among themselves. (36) It also fails to curtail the role power plays in hindering the hermeneutical resources of the marginalization. The power relations that produce hermeneutically marginalized populations do not also work to suppress, in all cases, knowledge of one's experiences of oppression and marginalization within those marginalized populations. (37) As a result there is always more than one set of hermeneutical resources available. Recognition of this reality, however, is thwarted by situated ignorance. Situated ignorance "follows from one's social position and/or epistemic location," which works to institute epistemic differences, while obscuring those same differences. (38) Contributory injustice occurs because there are different hermeneutical resources that the perceiver could utilize besides structurally prejudiced hermeneutical resources, and the perceiver willfully refuses "to acknowledge and acquire the necessary tools for knowing whole parts of the world." (39) The agent plays a role in contributory injustice by willfully refusing to recognize or acquire requisite alternative hermeneutical resources. Pohlhaus calls this refusal willful hermeneutical ignorance. The second difference follows from the fact that, for Fricker, the hermeneutical lacuna in hermeneutical injustice renders some experiences difficult to conceptualize for the marginalized and the perceiver alike. Contributory injustice does not render experiences equally unintelligible. In fact, those who experience contributory injustice find that they can readily articulate their experiences. However, those articulations generally fail to gain appropriate uptake according to the biased hermeneutical resources utilized by the perceiver. In this way contributory injustice compromises the epistemic agency of a knower. Hence contributory injustice, in this analysis, is defined as the circumstance where
  an epistemic agent's willful hermeneutical ignorance in maintaining
  and utilizing structurally prejudiced hermeneutical resources thwarts
  a knower's ability to contribute to shared epistemic resources within
  given epistemic community by compromising her epistemic agency

A notable exchange between Barbara Smith and Deborah Chay can serve as a good example of contributory injustice. The Chay/Smith exchange demonstrates a clash between a proponent of high theorizing and a grassroots intellectual. (40) The exchange began when Barbara Smith took offense at Deborah Chay's treatment of her now-classic essays "Toward a Black Feminist Criticism" and "The Truth That Never Hurts." (41) Deborah Chay, in her article "Rereading Barbara Smith: Black Feminist Criticism and the Category of Experience," attempts to identify "foundational" problems in Smith's work that act to undermine the legitimacy of black feminist criticism. Chay, in a perhaps impressive feat in the application of guidelines for theorizing to avoid essentialism, attempts to highlight a broad failure to "appropriately" theorize black feminist criticism in Smith's work. (42) She levels this accusation by identifying an inherent essentialism in Smith's stance concerning the identities of black feminist critics and an untenable reliance upon a "representation represents reality" theoretical foundation. (43) Smith, allowed to respond to Chay's analysis, promptly rejects these criticisms due to the privileging of theory and theorizing that underwrites them. Chay, who concludes her paper by gesturing to the ineffective theoretical basis of Smith's two articles, certainly privileges theory. (44) As a result Smith bluntly explains that Chay simply "doesn't get" her work, due in part to Chay's overreliance on theory and her academic approach to black feminist thought. (45)

Smith and Chay rely on different sets of collective hermeneutical resources. For Smith, viewing and assessing her work according to the dictates of "high theory" distorts her efforts, intentions, and methods in an attempt to eliminate the importance of Smith's contribution to black feminist thought. Rather than engaging the content of Chay's text, Smith examines the hermeneutical resources that Chay uses to judge her work and finds them wanting She writes, "Even though you have obviously examined these two articles ['Toward a Black Feminist Criticism' and 'The Truth That Never Hurts'] intensively, your assumptions about what I intended to do and your understanding of what I actually wrote are completely erroneous. You make dozens of points that are based upon inaccurate suppositions" (46) Smith takes Chay to task for (1) not having done the historical legwork necessary to understand the conditions under which Smith's initial essay was published--that is, for a magazine aimed at reaching a wider audience; (2) not attending to temporal considerations--that is, Smith's essay was written in 1977, before the privileging of theory became popular; and, finally, (3) not being a fair enough critic to consider that these contextual factors should influence the criteria according to which her work should be judged. (47) Smith effectively charges Chay with exhibiting willful hermeneutical ignorance that maps onto her epistemically culpable failure to judge Smith's essays fairly. For Smith, Chay's employment of hermeneutical resources incompatible with Smith's own causes her to deliberately distort the meaning of her text.

In the foreword to Wild Women in the Whirlwind, an anthology aimed at showcasing literary criticism of black women about black women, Audre Lorde indicates that this kind of distortion hinders the long-lasting contributions of black women to "dominant" collective hermeneutical resources. She writes: "It's not that we haven't always been here, since there was a here. It is that the letters of our names have been scrambled when they were not totally erased, and our fingerprints upon the handles of history have been called the random brushings of birds. ... Invisible words." (48) Lorde gestures, here, to three mechanics of exclusion for black women's lives, words, and work. They include: (i) scrambling or distorting, (2) erasure, and (3) disregard. Smith accuses Chay of scrambling her words, thereby attempting to render her work invisible. Invisible here does not mean unspoken or, as is the case with hermeneutical injustice, without conceptualization. Rather, according to Smith, Chay's treatment of her words scrambles them and, if taken seriously, threatens effectively to lessen Smith's contribution to black feminist scholarship and literary criticism. (49) Accordingly, Smith accuses Chay of using biased interpretative methods that distort her position by virtue of a willful hermeneutical ignorance. In short, Smith accuses Chay of perpetrating contributory injustice.

In her response to Smith's reaction essay, Chay makes a couple of important concessions to Smith concerning the difference between political organizing and academic work. However, her reply ends with a staunch defense of the importance of being critical in an academic setting for the sake of social transformation. (50) Perhaps Chay's reply to Smith's accusation of contributory injustice is most telling. The belief that the point of Smith's reply was to deny the importance of being critical in academia speaks to Chay's inability to see that it is her own hermeneutical resources that are at issue, not the right to be critical or even academia itself. In fact, a literary critic herself, Smith most likely holds a similar view of the importance of criticism for social transformation. Chay, however, fails to detect Smith's shift to questioning the hermeneutical resources utilized by Chay to distort Smith's position and instead reads Smith's response implausibly as targeting the legitimacy of academic literary criticism.

A cursory examination will uncover that Chay, if guilty of epistemic injustice, is not guilty of perpetuating Fricker's versions of epistemic injustice. (51) Chay extends both credibility to Smith and, as her analysis and follow-up demonstrate, a great deal of academic respect. She takes Smith's work very seriously. Also, the exchange between Smith and Chay is not characterized by a shared gap in collective hermeneutical resources. There are, however, gaps. Smith seeks to highlight gaps in Chay's hermeneutical resources, which influences her approach to Smith's writings; that is, the gaps that result from privileging theory. The scrambled account offered by Chay, however, is not only a problem of biased hermeneutical resources. According to Smith, Chay also demonstrates willful hermeneutical ignorance in relying upon the faulty resources she employs. Both biased hermeneutical resources and the ignorance of the epistemic agent in utilizing these resources cause contributory injustice.

Addressing contributory injustice is difficult but not impossible. It requires third-order changes. A third-order change requires perceivers to be aware of a range of differing sets of hermeneutical resources in order to be capable of shifting resources appropriately. (52) Where a second-order change involves altering a single set of shared hermeneutical resources, a third-order change requires the ability to shift hermeneutical resources, which requires fluency in differing hermeneutical resources. One could say that addressing contributory injustice demands a kind of "world"-traveling. (53) As Mariana Ortega explains, in her article "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant":
  "World"-traveling has to do with actual experience; it requires a
  tremendous commitment to practice: to actually engage in activities
  where one will experience what others experience; to deal with flesh
  and blood people not just their theoretical construction; to learn
  people's language in order to understand them better not to use it
  against them; to really listen to people's interpretations however
  different they are from one's own; and to see people as worthy of
  respect rather than helpless beings that require help. (54)

The demands of "world"-traveling, according to Ortega, require that we come to appreciate genuine differences, of which alternative hermeneutical resources are an example. However, this is not easy. Many sets of hermeneutical resources, particularly those following from resistance discourses, are very difficult to access. One's motives must be assessed, an epistemic community willing to apprentice the perceiver must be located, and a relationship of trust must be built before one can even begin to learn a set of hermeneutical resources that follow from a given resistant epistemological position. The extent of the trust required here cannot be underestimated. Third-order changes and the kinds of engagements necessary to affect them have been compared with experiences of the mystical. As Bartunek and Moch explain, in a third-order change "a person must be aware of experience that cannot be contained or represented by any conceptual scheme (at their avail), and must be exposed to a form of communication that is not simply analogical, but that exposes the person to transconceptual reality that provides the ground for conceptual human understanding." (55)

This kind of communication requires a kind of embodied engagement that extends beyond conversation and dialogue. (56) Even if the space for transconceptual communication has been opened, which is by no means easy, as mentioned earlier, it could literally take decades to become truly fluent in an alternative set of hermeneutical resources. It is the high demands that addressing contributory injustice places on a perceiver that render it a form of epistemic bad luck according to Fricker's account of epistemic injustice.


There are, of course, limitations of the order-of-change approach to differentiating different forms of epistemic injustice. Utilizing a first-, second-, and third-order change heuristic runs the risk of implying that one can address a third-order epistemic injustice without addressing relevant changes for first-order epistemic injustice. Recent reviews of Fricker's book rightly reject the idea that individual and structural forms of epistemic injustice can be addressed in isolation. (57) Though I introduce the kinds of changes each form of epistemic injustice minimally demands, those changes cannot be genuinely separated except in theory. That is to say, a conceptual revolution (second-order change) may require the ability to confer credibility accurately (first-order change). In like fashion, to be capable of shifting among collective sets of hermeneutical resources (third-order change), one may need to be capable of effecting and recognizing conceptual revolutions. Further, as was suggested, the amount of trust necessary for a third-order change with respect to acquiring and utilizing alternative hermeneutical resources requires that one be able to confer credibility well with respect to those resources. The interrelations among these "orders" of changes cannot be neatly mapped. And yet, though shifting hermeneutical resources, effecting conceptual revolutions, and conferring credibility accurately require related abilities and circumstances, they also require the cultivation of unrelated abilities and circumstances. Shifting hermeneutical resources will require more, in terms of demands on our epistemic conduct, than accurate credibility or conceptual revolutions. Though they all require a kind of diligence with respect to epistemic fairness, I understand the three forms of epistemic injustice outlined here to be distinct due to the fact that addressing one will not automatically address the others. Unless one attends to the demands of each form specifically, one runs the risk of perpetrating epistemic oppression.

This reality, that different forms of epistemic injustice have different demands to address, is what makes epistemic oppression so difficult to avoid. Epistemic oppression, again, is primarily characterized by detrimental exclusions from epistemic affairs. Whether concerning hermeneutical resources or discourse on an important matter of social policy, epistemic oppression concerns routine and harmful exclusions from some domain of knowledge production. All the forms of epistemic injustice introduced here involve some form of pervasive, harmful epistemic exclusion. As such, they are all species of epistemic oppression. The different demands to address the different forms of epistemic injustice actually indicate that epistemic oppression is a multifaceted oppression that cannot be addressed by any one particular countermeasure. For example, in the Smith/Chay exchange Chay is to be commended for seriously considering black feminist writings. She is also to be commended for pursuing a kind of conceptual revolution with her work. Unfortunately, she may have been overzealous in her application of an ill-fitting set of hermeneutical resources. (58) One can believe that they have avoided harmful epistemic exclusions of some forms of epistemic oppression only to find out that one has utterly failed in avoiding others. This reality marks the pervasiveness of epistemic oppression. Epistemic injustice, according to Fricker, cannot be cast so that it becomes too easy to commit. In accordance with this inclination Fricker attempts to identify cases of epistemic harm that appear as if they are cases of epistemic injustice but are actually cases of epistemic bad luck. Though Fricker offers insightful accounts of two forms of epistemic injustice, her understanding of epistemic injustice itself, particularly as it relates to epistemic bad luck, serves to foreclose the possibility of identifying contributory injustice as an epistemic injustice. That foreclosure begins with the inclination to believe that epistemic injustice cannot be conceptualized so that it is too easy to commit. The reality is that epistemic injustice is very easy to commit. In fact, it is extraordinarily difficult to avoid it. By not recognizing the pervasiveness of epistemic injustice and, by extension, epistemic oppression, Fricker conceptualizes epistemic injustice according to a closed system that itself perpetrates contributory injustice.

In order to demonstrate this claim, I will briefly first outline Fricker's account of the concept of epistemic bad luck. Second, I will turn to highlighting how examples of contributory injustice can be seen as particularly "poignant" cases of epistemic bad luck due to the high demands for addressing such injustice. Ultimately, Fricker's account runs the risk of propagating epistemic oppression, in the form of contributory injustice, due not to her forms of epistemic injustice per se, but to her utilizing a closed conceptual structure when demarcating the concept of epistemic injustice itself.

Epistemic Injustice and Epistemic Bad Luck

According to Fricker, epistemic injustice seems to have at least three features. Epistemic injustice (1) is nonaccidental (broadly construed), (2) produces epistemic inertia, and (3) causes epistemic harm to knowers. Nonaccidental refers to the fact that both of Fricker's forms of epistemic injustice can be traced to some intentionality with respect to the epistemic misconduct of a perceiver, that is, bad affective investment or hermeneutical marginalization. A bad affective investment is not an accident, even if it can be nonculpable, according to Fricker. In like fashion hermeneutical marginalization that follows from a historical precedence is also not an accident. These nonaccidental features of epistemic injustice produce prejudices, individual and structural, that lead to a kind of epistemic inertia that is difficult to halt. This inertia, or resistance to change, produces harm to one's capacity as a knower.

By contrast, cases of epistemic harm to knowers that result from " innocent errors" do not constitute epistemic injustice for Fricker, but represent instances of epistemic bad luck. She offers two forms of epistemic bad luck: (1) circumstantial epistemic bad luck that resembles testimonial injustice and (2) circumstantial epistemic bad luck that resembles hermeneutical injustice. Both forms of epistemic bad luck share at least two features. Epistemic bad luck (1) is typically accidental or historically incidental and (2) causes harm to knowers. Fricker never explicitly offers these criteria for either epistemic injustice or epistemic had luck, but they emerge from her attempt to juxtapose epistemic injustice with corresponding versions of epistemic bad luck. Because contributory injustice has both agential and structural catalysts, in order for it to be cast as a form of epistemic bad luck, it will need to be shown to fit both of Fricker's forms of epistemic bad luck.

Circumstantial epistemic bad luck with respect to testimonial injustice is presented according to what Ishani Maitra, in her essay "The Nature of Epistemic Injustice," calls a "continuity argument." (59) Fricker offers the examples of (1) an extremely shy testifier whose failure to meet the eyes of his interlocutor and self-conscious pauses are taken to indicate a general insincerity; (2) an "honest second-hand car salesman" who is taken for being dishonest by virtue of his profession; and 3) a habitual liar who is disbelieved when she is telling the truth due to being a confirmed liar. (60) Fricker claims that because these examples are a result of generally reliable stereotypes, they do not represent cases of epistemic injustice, but rather instances of circumstantial epistemic had luck. In the three cases mentioned Fricker explains:
  The hearer has not put a foot wrong she has made a credibility
  judgment that is in line with the evidence, yet, as bad luck would
  have it, the case proves an exception to the rule. All three examples
  are cases of innocent error on the part of the hearer: no epistemic
  culpability, and no ethical culpability

Relying upon a generally reliable stereotype serves to render one's judgments innocent and one's perceptions appropriate for Fricker, even if they result in epistemic harm. One may already begin to detect the danger this idea engenders in rendering contributory injustice as a form of epistemic bad luck.

In contributory injustice an epistemic agent, as a result of willful hermeneutical ignorance, obscures or distorts genuine epistemic differences through the use of a different, incompatible set of hermeneutical resources. To the epistemic agent utilizing biased hermeneutical resources, the prejudgments being relied upon are perfectly reliable. In fact, within biased hermeneutical resources the distortions indicative of contributory injustice are perfectly reasonable, and if asked to defend her judgments, an agent perpetrating contributory injustice would claim that she had not "put a foot wrong." And, in a sense, this would be true, if we were to focus solely on the reliability of the stereotypes operative in the judgment. The perpetrator of contributory injustice holds a host of reliable stereotypes that will be the catalyst for contributory injustice. Maitra offers an example that illustrates this point. Suppose, she writes, that
  the speaker is a victim of a crime--say a rape victim--and the
  hearer is a police officer to whom she is reporting her ordeal.
  Even granting that the stereotype here is genuinely reliable and
  nonprejudical, if this police officer dismisses the victim merely
  because of her shifty manner, without making any further effort
  to check whether she is really lying, he (intuitively speaking)
  seems to commit a wrong against the victim. (62)

I agree with Maitra here. A wrong is committed in this example. Stereotypes that read the behavior of rape victims as shifty and untrustworthy are part of biased hermeneutical resources that, at the very least, cause epistemic harm. To maintain them, even though they are generally reliable in other contexts, is problematic and a catalyst for contributory injustice.

Now, one can defend Fricker's account by saying, in the case of the police officer, that he is obviously "putting a foot wrong." But how so? The police officer is undoubtedly making an error. With respect to victims of sexual violence a stereotype connecting shifty behavior to a lack of trustworthiness is not apt or reliable. However, Fricker claims that this is generally a reliable stereotype, and applying it means that one is letting one's judgment fit the evidence. In talking of applying a reliable stereotype, Fricker says nothing of applying the stereotype where it is apt. In this case the stereotype, though reliable, does not provide the appropriate conceptual frame with which to understand the testimony of a victim of sexual violence, and as a result the police officer utilizes ill-fitting hermeneutical resources. According to Fricker, this would amount to an innocent error and thereby indicate a case of epistemic bad luck. (63) On my account the victim of sexual violence experiences contributory injustice at the hands of the police officer.

Fricker also offers an account of circumstantial epistemic bad luck that resembles hermeneutical injustice. She gives the example of "someone [who] has a medical condition affecting their social behavior at a historical moment at which that condition is misunderstood and largely undiagnosed." (64) The relatively little information known about the condition causes a hermeneutical lacuna that is similar to the hermeneutical lacuna identified with respect to the experience of sexual harassment. However, for Fricker, though the person with the medical condition may experience a "hermeneutical disadvantage that is, while collective, especially damaging to them in particular," such a circumstance is not epistemic injustice. It is an example of "circumstantial epistemic bad luck." (65) The explanation as to why this is a case of circumstantial epistemic had luck tracks the idea that the person suffering from the medical condition, it is presumed, does not also suffer from hermeneutical marginalization, but rather was born in an unfortunate time. That is to say, the relatively little-known medical condition in question is obscured due to an accident of history, whereas those who suffer hermeneutical lacunae due to marginalization suffer from a nonaccidental historical circumstance. Without being able to establish historical patterns of hermeneutical marginalization, one cannot be said to suffer from hermeneutical injustice and, by extension, epistemic injustice. (66) It is unclear precisely what counts as a historical precedent for hermeneutical marginalization. Fricker offers the example of gender-based marginalization and the ways that women, specifically, have been historically hermeneutically marginalized. (67)

The person suffering from the unexplored medical ailment may not suffer hermeneutical injustice, on Fricker's account, but he may suffer contributory injustice. It is entirely plausible that a person who suffers from a medical ailment about which knowledge is underdeveloped is very much aware of the symptoms and problems he and, possibly, others like him suffer. As Pohlhaus explains:
  When there is a tension between the world of experience and the
  resources that we use to make sense of our experiences, for example,
  when the proper language for describing an experience appears to be
  missing, or when our current concepts fail to track reoccurring
  patterns, we recalibrate our epistemic resources and/or create new
  ones until the tension between our resources and the world is
  alleviated. (68)

To imagine that the person with the underresearched medical ailment remains in the same state of unawareness as general society is, generally, absurd. Alternative hermeneutical resources often arise in response to circumstances such as these. Though dominant hermeneutical resources may remain behind on conceptualizing his ailment, his knowledge may not be lagging at all, in terms of the ability to render it intelligible. What is barred, then, is gaining the appropriate uptake by those utilizing dominant hermeneutical resources as opposed to the alternative resources he and others in his same position have developed. This failure to gain uptake so as to influence dominant bermeneutical resources is a form of epistemic injustice on my account--contributory injustice. Yet the failure of the ailing man's knowledge to gain uptake, for pricker, may be a particularly poignant case of epistemic bad luck due to his inability to establish a historical precedence of hermeneutical marginalization and not an epistemic injustice at all. (69)

Neither stories about fitting evidence and innocent errors nor hermeneutical marginalizations are relevant to establishing the existence of contributory injustice. If epistemic injustice is cast according to these lines, then contributory injustice is a particularly pervasive form of epistemic bad luck. I am certain this is not an effect Fricker intended. However, it is an unfortunate implication of the account she provides. Fricker's attempt to delimit epistemic injustice with an account of epistemic bad luck is the culprit here. By narrowing epistemic injustice to acceptable permutations of the forms she outlines, Fricker creates a conceptual frame that, if taken seriously, would serve to exclude pervasive forms of epistemic injustice, like contributory injustice. As such, Fricker creates a closed conceptual structure that identifies all forms of epistemic injustice that do not fit the form she outlines as epistemic bad luck. This is more than unfortunate. Within sets of hermeneutical resources that take Fricker's work seriously, contributory injustice will remain epistemically excluded and obscured. (70) In short, the limitations Fricker places on the concept of epistemic injustice, if allowed to shape hermeneutical resources, will perpetrate epistemic oppression.

Open and Closed Conceptual Structures

What does not fall between the vectors established by Fricker's account of epistemic injustice falls into the realm of epistemic bad luck. The need to indicate the outside of epistemic injustice prompts Fricker to offer an account of epistemic injustice that is bordered by epistemic bad luck, thereby creating a closed conceptual system where similar kinds of epistemic harm are perpetrated by epistemic bad luck or epistemic injustice. The desire to delimit epistemic injustice, as a form of epistemic oppression, creates problems for Fricker's account that could have been easily avoided. It prompts responses like those of Ishani Maitra and Rebecca Mason who rightly, given the closed nature of Fricker's concept of epistemic injustice, feel the need to either expand or contract Fricker's forms of epistemic injustice so that they can serve as catchall forms of epistemic injustice. A catchall theory of epistemic injustice is an unrealistic expectation. Epistemic oppression is simply too pervasive. Epistemic exclusions in the form of epistemic injustice that hinders social knowledge may be impossible to fully diagnose. By looking at only three levels of epistemic injustice, I have indicated that addressing and identifying epistemic injustice will be far more challenging than any one account can accommodate. The call for open conceptual structures is a call for an active realization of this reality that is built into the very structure of our inquiries into epistemic oppression. One has to remain constantly aware that there is always more to say and remain sensitive to the inevitability of damaging oversights.

An open conceptual structure is a simple thing. The simple use of a well-placed indefinite article, a, can take one very far. An a, as opposed to the definite article the, along with the corresponding shift in perspective that makes an indefinite article appropriate, may be all it takes to create an open-ended conceptual structure. What Fricker offers is an account of epistemic injustice. This indicates that there are strengths and limits to her account. Instead of taking her to task about what she overlooks or what her account cannot track, we can simply acknowledge the strengths and limitations of her position and move on to offer another theory of epistemic injustice that. addresses the limitations of her account. Accounts of epistemic injustice, then, can stand side by side, useful for different kinds of analyses in possibly compatible and incompatible sets of hermeneutical resources.

If this seems like an easy fix, it is not. It demands a conscious author capable of detecting points in her theory that need to be open ended and readers capable of attending to the limits and scope of the position(s) offered. A capable author and a capable reader allow for engagement that maintains openness to further insight and examinations, which can help reduce epistemic oppression. Epistemic exclusions become addressable without tearing down positions whose limitations can be used to shore up those exclusions. And a simple, well-placed set of indefinite articles delegitimizes using theories for hard and fast foreclosures that entail absolute exclusions. An indefinite article and the conceptual structures required to make its deployment appropriate can offer positions that signify without absolute foreclosure, but it is up to the author who deploys indefinite articles and the audience who relies upon them to maintain the openness inherent in the structure. Again, avoiding epistemic oppression entirely may be impossible. However, effective open conceptual structures can aid in reducing the perpetuation of epistemic oppression. That is to say, they can help us toward the goal of never leaving our pen lying in someone else's blood. (71)


(1.) Audre I. orde, "lb the Poet Who Happens to Be Black and the Black Poet Who Happens to Be a Woman," in The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (New York: Norton, 2000), 360. These lines are reprinted here by permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

(2.) This definition of epistemic exclusion relies heavily on Irene Omolola's use of the term. See Irene Omolola Adadevoh, "Women's Epistemic Exclusion and the Question of Equitable and Sustainable Educational Empowerment," Philica (2011): 1-9 ( For a similar theory of epistemic oppression see Miranda Fricker, "Epistemic Oppression and Epistemic Privilege," Canadian Jounral of Philosophy 25 (1998): 191-209.


(3.) This definition is influenced by Cynthia Townley's definition of agency. See Cynthia Townley, "Trust and the Curse of Cassandra (an Exploration of the Value of Trust)," Philosophy and the Contemporary World in, no. 2 (2003): 109-10.

(4.) Miranda Fricker, Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

(5.) Rae Langton, "Feminism in Epistemology: Exclusion and Objectification," in The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy, ed. Miranda Fricker and Jennifer Hornsby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 129.

(6.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, l.

(7.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 35.

(8.) Patricia Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), 42.

(9.) Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights, 242n5 (emphasis added).

(10.) Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights, 44-51. Williams is not the only scholar to identify an "inverted epistemology" that follows from delusions of neutrality. See also Charles W. Mills, "'Ideal Theory' as Ideology: Hypatia 20, no. 3 (2005): 165-84; Charles W. Mills, The Racial Contract (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999); Charles W. Mills, "White Ignorance: in Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, ed. Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana (Albany: SUNY Press, 2007).

(11.) For "knowing and not wanting to know" see Nancy Tuana, "The Speculum of Ignorance: The Women's Health Movement and Epistemologies of Ignorance: Hypatia 21, no. 3 (2006): 10.

(12.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 44.

(13.) Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights, 50-51.

(14.) Jean M. Bartunek and Michael K. Moch, "First-Order, Second-Order, and Third-Order Change and Organization Development Interventions: A Cognitive Approach,"Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 23, no. 4 (1987): 487.

(15.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 91-98.

(16.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 97.

(17.) Addressing testimonial injustice need not be conceived solely according to individual changes or, in Fricker's case, individual virtues. As Rae Langton suggests in her review of Epistemic Injustice, broad structural changes may be required to address testimonial injustice. For example, the ways tests are administered and graded may need to be changed as a way to train a testimonial virtue, and this, for Langton, is a structural change, not an individualistic one. See Rae Langton, "Review of Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing," Hypatia 25, no. 2 (2010): 463. Regardless of whether one locates necessary corrective actions at the individual or the structural level, the kind of changes needed are first-level changes since the value of credibility is not challenged.

(18.) Kate Walsh, "Interpreting the Impact of Culture on Structure," Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 40, no. 3 (2004): 306.

(19.) Bartunek and Moth, "First-Order," 484.

(20.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 155.

(21.) Gaile Pohlhaus, "Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of Willful Hermaneutical Ignorance," Hypatia (2011): 4.

(22.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 153 (emphasis in original).

(23.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 155 (emphasis in original).

(24.) Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Poltiics of Empowerment, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, woo). For similar discussions see also Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999); Hazel Carby, "White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood," in The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain, ed. The Centre for Contemprary Cultural Studies (London: Hutchinson, 1982); Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights.

(25.) Susan Brown miller, In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (New York: Dial Press, 1990), qtd. in Fricker,. Episternic Injustice, 150.

(26.) Brownmiller, In Our Time, qtd. in Fricker, Episternic Injustice, 150.

(27.) Pricker, Epistemic Injustice, 150-51.

(28.) Pricker, Epistemic Injustice, 151.

(29.) In outlining hermeneutical resources, Pricker may appear to be assuming that only one prevailing set of hermeneutical resources exists for social discernment. This assumption, of course, is false. Much has been made of alternative epistemologies and counterdiscourses, which serve to produce differing hermeneutical resources. However, the existence of alternative hermeneutical resources does not in itself challenge Fricker's account of hermeneutical injustice. What is required for hermeneutical injustice is a lacuna caused by hermeneutical marginalization within the hermeneutical resources upon which one relies. To establish hermeneutical injustice, one need only point to lacunas in operative hermeneutical resources that result from marginalization, regardless of how many sets of collective hermeneutical resources are in operation. I return to this point that there exist multiple sets of hermeneutical resources. In outlining contributory injustice, I illustrate a form of epistemic injustice that is caused by the misuse of a given set of hermeneutical resources.

(30.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 7.

(31.) Langton, "Review," 460, 63.

(32.) Bartunek and Moch, "First-Order," 486.

(33.) Bartunek and Moch, "First-Order," 485.

(34.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 169-75.

(35.) Langton, "Review," 463.

(36.) For good recent essays making this point see Rebecca Mason, "Two Kinds of Unknowing," Hypatia 26, no. 2 (2011); Pohlhaus, "Relational Knowing." See also Collins, Black Feminist Thought; Hortense Spillers, "Interstises: A Small Drama of Words," in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Sexuality, ed. Carol Vance (Boston: Routlegde, 1984), 84; James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 4; Maria Lugones, "Multiculturalism and Publicity," Hypatia 15,110. 5 (2000): 175-78.

(37.) For a now-classic essay illustrating this point see, among others, Gayatri Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, ed. Gary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Urbana: University of Illinois Press,1998).

(38.) Kristie Dotson, "Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing," Hypatia 26, no. 2 (2011): 248.

(39.) Pohlhaus, "Relational Knowing, 15." 40. Barbara Smith, "Reply to Deborah Chay," New Literary History 24, no. 3 (1993): 654-55.

(41.) Barbara Smith, "Toward a Black Feminist Criticism," in Black Feminist Cultural Criticism, ed. Jacqueline Bobo (Malden: Blackwell 2001); Barbara Smith, "Truth That Never Hurts: Black Lesbians in Fiction in the 198os," in Wild Women in the Whirlwind: Afra-American Culture and the Contemporary Literary Renaissance, ed. Joanne Braxton and Andree McLaughlin (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990).

(42.) Farah Jasmine Griffin, "That the Mothers May Soar and the Daughters May Know Their Names: A Retrospective of Black Feminist Literary Criticism," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32, no. 2 (2007): 492.

(43.) Deborah G. Chay, "Rereading Barbara Smith: Black Feminist Criticism and the Category of Experience," New Literary History 24, no. 3 (1993): 648-49.

(44.) Chay, "Rereading Barbara Smith," 648-49.

(45.) Smith, "Reply to Deborah Chay," 653.

(46.) Smith, "Reply to Deborah Chay," 653.

(47.) Smith, "Reply to Deborah Chay," 654-56.

(48.) Audre Lorde, "Foreword," in Braxton and McLaughlin, Wild Women in the Whirlwind, xi.

(49.) It is important to note that Chay, in her response to Smith, identifies part of Smith's rejection of her analysis. She makes it clear that it was never her intention to devalue Smith's work. Chay writes, "Barbara Smith's work remains valuable for many of us who are concerned with questions of race, gender, and power in the 19905." See Deborah G. Chay, "Deborah Chay's Reply," New Literary History 24, no. 3 (1993): 656.

(50.) Chay, "Rereading Barbara Smith," 656.

(51.) I have only established the accusation of contributory injustice, not the existence of it in Chay's essay. I use the Smith/Chay exchange here not to personally accuse Chay of perpetuating contributory injustice, but to offer an example that highlights the nature of contributory injustice.

(52.) Bartunek and Moch, "First-Order," 486,88.

(53.) Maria Lugones, "Playfulness, 'World'sfravelling, and Loving Perception,"Hypatia 2, 110. 2 (1987): 3-19. Mariana Ortega, who identifies a similar phenomenon to contributory injustice in her article "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant," advocates for "world-traveling" to address distortions of and disregard for the lives and work of women of color work by lovingly knowingly ignorant white feminist scholars. See Mariana Ortega, "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant: White Feminism and Women of Color," Hypatia 21, 110. 3 (2006): 69.

(54.) Ortega, "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant," 69.

(55.) lean M. Bartunek and Michael K. Niloch, "Third-Order Organizational Change and the Western Mystical Tradition," Journal of Organizational Change Management 7 no. 1 (1994): 27-28.

(56.) For other articles that advocate for change that requires more than dialogic engagement, see Maria Lugones and Elizabeth V. Spelman, "Have We Got a Theory for You! Feminist Theory, Cultural Imperialism, and the Demand for 'the Woman's Voice?" Women's Studies International Forum 6, no. 6 (1983): 573-81; Ortega, "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant"; Pohlhaus, "Relational Knowing"; Lugones, "Playfulness."

(57.) Both Rae Langton and Ishani Maitra make the point that testimonial and hermeneutical injustice cannot be easily separated according to individual and structural elements, but rather require a consideration of structural and individual concerns. See lshani Maitra, "The Nature of Epistemic Injustice," Philosophical Books 51, no. 4 (am o); Langton, "Review."

(58.) Some might argue that in the Chay/Smith exchange neither interlocutor actually gives the appropriate amount of credibility to the other and that neither is genuinely pursuing a conceptual revolution, but, rather, that both are in the throes of "boomerang perception," For positions that imply this critique see Maria Lugones, Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes: Theorizing Coalition against Multiple Oppressions (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); Elizabeth Spelman, Inessential Woman (Boston: Beacon,1988), 12. This interpretation is entirely likely, but it does not remove the primary insight here. Addressing epistemic oppression, in all of its forms, is extraordinarily difficult.

(59.) Maitra, "Nature of Epistemic Injustice," 202.

(60.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 41-42.

(61.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 42-43.

(62.) Maitra, "Nature of Epistemic Injustice," 203.

(63.) This interpretation of Pricker's account of epistemic bad luck is only possible due to the vagueness that surrounds the concept in her book. It is unclear what an "innocent error" amounts to, and it is equally unclear to what "evidence fits the judgment" refers. See Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 41-43.

(64.) Fricker, Epistemic Injust ice,152.

(65.) Fricker, Episternic Injustice,152.

(66.) Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 152.

(67.) Fricker, Episternic Injustice, 152. Nancy Tuana gives examples of hermeneutical lacunas concerning medical conditions of women due to hermeneutical marginalization. See Tuana, "Speculum of Ignorance"; Nancy Tuana, "Coming to Understand: Orgasm and the Epistemology of Ignorance," Hypatia 19, no. 1 (2004).

(68.) Pohlhaus, "Relational Knowing."

(69.) For the sake of this paper I grant Fricker the possibility that hermeneutical marginalization is always historical, though I am suspicious of this criterion.

(70.) It is important to note that I am not advocating that Fricker's account will extend to all sets of hermeneutical resources and somehow taint them all. Such a position is absurd and puts far more importance than is reasonable on the effect of philosophical texts. Fricker's account of epistemic injustice is being offered as an example, whereas if her text were to be allowed to affect a set of collective hermeneutical resources, it would have the effect of obscuring the existence of contributory injustice and would, hence, perpetrate epistemic oppression.

(71.) Lorde, "To the Poet," 300.
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Author:Dotson, Kristie
Publication:Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies
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Date:Jan 1, 2012
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