Philosophy Colloquium: Martina Fürst
Closing the conceptual gap in epistemic injustice
The Spring 2022 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Martina Fürst (University of Graz).
In her insightful work on epistemic injustice, Miranda Fricker discusses, besides testimonial injustice, the phenomenon of hermeneutical injustice. Hermeneutical injustice occurs when the victim lacks the interpretative resources to make sense of her experience and this lacuna can be traced down to a structural injustice. According to Fricker, for hermeneutical injustice to vanish, a public concept of the target phenomenon has to be developed.
In this talk, I analyze the conceptual gap in hermeneutical injustice and provide one model of how to fill it. First, I argue that the victims do possess some conceptual resources to make sense of their experiences. In particular, I show that they possess two different kinds of phenomenal concepts that capture the target experience. Next, I outline how one might work the way up in a two-step process from a subjective, phenomenal concept to a novel, public concept that, in principle, is graspable and deployable by everyone. To reach this aim, I analyze different ways of communicating knowledge about an experience. Finally, I analyze the conditions that have to be met for this process to be successful. The proposed model shows a way how the victims might alleviate hermeneutical injustice by developing novel concepts, given that the dominant group does not care about their predicament.