Hermeneutic Injustices: Practical and Epistemic

In Andreas Mauz & Christiane Tietz (eds.), Interpretation und Geltung. Paderborn, Germany: Brill. pp. 107-123 (2022)

Abstract

Hermeneutical injustices, according to Miranda Fricker, are injustices that occur “when a gap in collective interpretive resources puts someone at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to making sense of their social experiences” (Fricker 2007, 1). For Fricker, the relevant injustice in these cases is the very lack of knowledge and understanding experienced by the subject. In this way, hermeneutical injustices are instances of epistemic injustices, the kind of injustice that “wrongs someone in their capacity as a subject of knowledge” (Fricker 2007, 5). In this paper, however, I identify different means by which our hermeneutic activities lead to social injustices, of both a practical and epistemic kind, and I identify different ways in which those injustices manifest themselves. Since Fricker’s use of the notion of “hermeneutical injustices” to denote a well-defined kind of injustice is rightfully well-established, I here refer to the more general kinds of injustices I have in mind as “hermeneutic injustices” instead.

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Luis R. G. Oliveira
University of Houston

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