Taboo, hermeneutical injustice, and expressively free environments

Episteme 13 (2) (2016)
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Abstract

In this paper I draw attention to a shortcoming in Miranda Fricker's 2007 account of hermeneutical injustice: that the only hermeneutical resource she acknowledges is a shared conceptual framework. Consequently, Fricker creates the impression that hermeneutical injustice manifests itself almost exclusively in the form of a conceptual lacuna. Considering the negative hermeneutical impact of certain societal taboos, however, suggests that there can be cases of hermeneutical injustice even when an agent's conceptual repertoire is perfectly adequate. I argue that this observation highlights the need to expand Fricker's account to accommodate a wider range of hermeneutical resources and, in turn, a broader taxonomy of hermeneutical injustice. Specifically, my central case of a societal taboo presses the need to recognize as a valuable hermeneutical resource an expressively free environment, in which individuals can put their conceptual-interpretative resources to good hermeneutical effect.

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Charlie Crerar
University of Sheffield