Testimonial injustice and prescriptive credibility deficits

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):924-947 (2016)
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In light of recent social psychological literature, I expand Miranda Fricker’s important notion of testimonial injustice. A fair portion of Fricker’s account rests on an older paradigm of stereotype and prejudice. Given recent empirical work, I argue for what I dub prescriptive credibility deficits in which a backlash effect leads to the assignment of a diminished level of credibility to persons who act in counter-stereotypic manners, thereby flouting prescriptive stereotypes. The notion of a prescriptive credibility deficit is not merely an interesting conceptual addendum that can be appended to Fricker’s theory without need for further emendation. I develop the wider implications of prescriptive credibility deficits and argue that they pose a challenge to Fricker’s conception of the function of credibility assignments in conversational exchange and how a virtuous listener should respond to the potential threat of a prejudicial stereotype affecting her credibility assignments.



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Wade Munroe
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor