Gaslighting and Echoing, or Why Collective Epistemic Resistance is not a “Witch Hunt”

Hypatia 35 (4):674-686 (2020)
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Abstract

This essay reflects on some of the problems with characterizing collective epistemic resistance to oppression as “unthinking” or antithetical to reason by highlighting the epistemic labor involved in contending with and resisting epistemic oppression. To do so, I develop a structural notion of epistemic gaslighting in order to highlight structural features of contexts within which collective epistemic resistance to oppression occurs. I consider two different forms of epistemic echoing as modes of contending with and resisting epistemic oppression that are sometimes mischaracterized as “unthinking” or “group think.” The first sense highlights the epistemic labor entailed in withdrawing from conditions of structural epistemic gaslighting that is sometimes mischaracterized as a pernicious self-sequestering that is antithetical to reason. The second sense highlights the epistemic labor entailed in actively confronting epistemic structures that gaslight what is sometimes mischaracterized as an “irrational group think.” In both cases, I highlight how epistemic acts that may appear unreasonable “within the gaslight” are, on the contrary, engaged in serious and important epistemic labor.

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Gaile Pohlhaus
Miami University, Ohio

Citations of this work

White Feminist Gaslighting.Nora Berenstain - 2020 - Hypatia 35 (4):733-758.
Cultural Gaslighting.Elena Ruíz - 2020 - Hypatia 35 (4):687-713.
Epistemic Agency Under Oppression.Gaile Pohlhaus - 2020 - Philosophical Papers 49 (2):233-251.
Emotional Gaslighting and Affective Empathy.Katharina Anna Sodoma - 2022 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 30 (3):320-338.

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