Rape Culture and Epistemology

Authors
Jonathan Ichikawa
University of British Columbia
Abstract
This paper critiques a deferential attitude about the epistemology of sexual assault testimony. According to the deferential attitude, individuals and institutions should decline to act on allegations of sexual assault unless and until they are proven in a formal setting, i.e., a criminal court. We attack this deference from several angles, including the pervasiveness of rape culture in the criminal justice system, the epistemology of testimony and norms connecting knowledge and action, the harms of tacit idealizations away from important contextual factors, and a contextualist semantics for 'knows' ascriptions.
Keywords knowledge  contextualism  rape culture  testimony  standards of proof  pragmatic encroachment  idealizations
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