Speaking Silences

A Wittgensteinian Inquiry into Hermeneutical Injustice


  • Camila Lobo IFILNOVA, FCSH, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa




hermeneutical injustice, social epistemology, wittgenstein, feminism


Miranda Fricker’s account of what is involved in cases of hermeneutical injustice has been criticised for neglecting the existence of alternative hermeneutical resources developed by non-dominant groups and consequently overlooking its members’ cognitive agency. I argue that this critical strand might be extended to consider what I call “uncontroversial cases of hermeneutical injustice”, i.e. cases in which no alternative resources are available, but marginalized subjects can still be said to resist dominant interpretations of their experiences. Following Alice Crary, I trace the limitations of Fricker’s original account of hermeneutical injustice back to her reliance on a neutral conception of reason and argue that widening the realm of rationality to accommodate affective responses authorizes a revaluation of marginalized subjects’ agency under ideological systems. To illustrate this point, I indicate that Ludwig Wittgenstein’s reflections on hinges present a notion of objectivity that serves liberatory projects and might guide a more adequate response to cases of hermeneutical injustice.

Author Biography

Camila Lobo, IFILNOVA, FCSH, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Camila Lobo is a PhD student in Philosophy at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Having graduated in Philosophy from Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto in 2016, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Political Philosophy from Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, in 2019, having prepared the dissertation "Mulher Inessencial, mas Mulher: Feminismo, Wittgenstein e o problema da diferença" under the supervision of Professor Nuno Venturinha. She was awarded a PhD scholarship by FCT so as to develop the doctoral project "The Perspective of Care - Toward a Feminist Epistemology of Work". Her research interests range from social epistemology, to feminist theory, philosophy of language and Wittgensteinian philosophy.


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