Pragmatic Encroachment and the Challenge from Epistemic Injustice

Philosophers' Imprint 19 (2019)
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Abstract

I present a challenge to epistemological pragmatic encroachment theories from epistemic injustice. The challenge invokes the idea that a knowing subject may be wronged by being regarded as lacking knowledge due to social identity prejudices. However, in an important class of such cases, pragmatic encroachers appear to be committed to the view that the subject does not know. Hence, pragmatic encroachment theories appear to be incapable of accounting for an important type of injustice – namely, discriminatory epistemic injustice. Consequently, pragmatic encroachment theories run the risk of obscuring or even sanctioning epistemically unjust judgments that arise due to problematic social stereotypes or unjust folk epistemological biases. In contrast, the epistemological view that rejects pragmatic encroachment – namely, strict purist invariantism – is capable of straightforwardly diagnosing the cases of discriminatory epistemic injustice as such. While the challenge is not a conclusive one, it calls for a response. Moreover, it illuminates very different conceptions of epistemology’s role in mitigating epistemic injustice.

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Mikkel Gerken
University of Southern Denmark

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