A Wittgensteinian Inquiry into Hermeneutical Injustice
Keywords: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.
Dotson, K., 2012. “A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression”. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 33(1), 24-47.
Crary, A., 2007. Beyond Moral Judgement, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.
Crary, A., 2018. “The methodological is political: What’s the matter with ‘analytic feminism’?”. Radical Philosophy, 2(2). Available from: https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/the-methodological-is-political. [Accessed January 2021]
Fricker, M., 2007. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fricker, M., 2013. “How is hermeneutical injustice related to ‘white ignorance’?”. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, 2(8), 49-53.
Fricker, M., 2016. “Epistemic Injustice and the Preservation of Ignorance”. In: R. Peels and M. Blaaw, eds., The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 160-177.
Haraway, D., 1988. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective”. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599.
Hartsock, N., 1983. “The Feminist Standpoint: Developing the Ground for a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism”. In: S. Harding and M. B. Hintikka, eds., Discovering Reality, Dordrecht: Springer, 283-310.
Hennessy, R., 1993. “Women’s lives/feminist knowledge: Feminist standpoint as ideology critique”. Hypatia, 8(1), 14-34.
Jaggar, A., 1983. Feminist Politics and Human Nature, Totowa, NJ: Rowan and Allenheld.
Langton, R., 2010. “Review of Miranda Fricker, Epistemic Justice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing”. Hypatia, 25(2), 459–464.
Mason, R., 2011. “Two Kinds of Unknowing”. Hypatia, 26(2), 294-307.
Mason, R., 2021. “Hermeneutical Injustice,”. In: J. Khoo and S. K. Sterken, eds., Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language, London and New York, NY: Routledge, 247-258.
Mills C., 1997. The Racial Contract, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Moyal-Sharrock, D., 2004. Understanding Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pohlhaus, G., 2012. “Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance”. Hypatia, 27(4), 715-735.
Pritchard, D., 2016. Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Pritchard, D., 2021. “Wittgensteinian Hinge Epistemology and Deep Disagreement”. Topoi, 40, 1117–1125.
Toole, B., 2019. “From Standpoint Epistemology to Epistemic Oppression”. Hypatia, 34(4), 598-618.
Wittgenstein, L., 1958. Philosophical Investigations, G.E.M. Anscombe, R. Rhees and G.H. von Wright eds., G.E.M. Anscombe trans., Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wittgenstein, L., 1969. On Certainty, G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright eds., D. Paul and G.E.M. Anscombe trans., Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Copyright (c) 2022 Camila Lobo
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
NWR uses the Creative Commons license CC-BY.
Vol. 1-3 used CC-BY-NC-SA. The collected works copyright ownership for Vol. 1-2 were shared by Nordic Wittgenstein Society and ontos Verlag/De Gruyter.