This article analyses the phenomenon of epistemic injustice within contemporary healthcare. We begin by detailing the persistent complaints patients make about their testimonial frustration and hermeneutical marginalization, and the negative impact this has on their care. We offer an epistemic analysis of this problem using Miranda Fricker's account of epistemic injustice. We detail two types of epistemic injustice, testimonial and hermeneutical, and identify the negative stereotypes and structural features of modern healthcare practices that generate them. We claim that these stereotypes (...) and structural features render ill persons especially vulnerable to these two types of epistemic injustice. We end by proposing five avenues for further work on epistemic injustice in healthcare. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the relationship of virtue, argumentation, and philosophical conduct by considering the role of the specific virtue of intellectual humility in the practice of philosophical argumentation. I have three aims: first, to sketch an account of this virtue; second, to argue that it can be cultivated by engaging in argumentation with others; and third, to problematize this claim by drawing upon recent data from social psychology. My claim is that philosophical argumentation can be conducive to the (...) cultivation of virtues, including humility, but only if it is conceived and practiced in appropriately ‘edifying’ ways. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of the structure of epistemic vice-charging, the critical practice of charging other persons with epistemic vice. Several desiderata for a robust vice-charge are offered and two deep obstacles to the practice of epistemic vice-charging are then identified and discussed. The problem of responsibility is that few of us enjoy conditions that are required for effective socialisation as responsible epistemic agents. The problem of consensus is that the efficacy of a vice-charge is contingent upon a degree (...) of consensus between critic and target that is unlikely or impossible where vice-charging is most likely to be provoked. It emerges that a robust critical practice of vice-charging is possible in principle, but very difficult in practice. (shrink)
In the era of information and communication, issues of misinformation and miscommunication are more pressing than ever. _Epistemic injustice - _one of the most important and ground-breaking subjects to have emerged in philosophy in recent years - refers to those forms of unfair treatment that relate to issues of knowledge, understanding, and participation in communicative practices. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject. The first collection (...) of its kind, it comprises over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors, divided into five parts: Core Concepts Liberatory Epistemologies and Axes of Oppression Schools of Thought and Subfields within Epistemology Socio-political, Ethical, and Psychological Dimensions of Knowing Case Studies of Epistemic Injustice. As well as fundamental topics such as testimonial and hermeneutic injustice and epistemic trust, the Handbook includes chapters on important issues such as social and virtue epistemology, objectivity and objectification, implicit bias, and gender and race. Also included are chapters on areas in applied ethics and philosophy, such as law, education, and healthcare. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is essential reading for students and researchers in ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, feminist theory, and philosophy of race. It will also be very useful for those in related fields, such as cultural studies, sociology, education and law. (shrink)
Many people report that reading first-person narratives of the experience of illness can be morally instructive or educative. But although they are ubiquitous and typically sincere, the precise nature of such educative experiences is puzzling—for those narratives typically lack the features that modern philosophers regard as constitutive of moral reason. I argue that such puzzlement should disappear, and the morally educative power of illness narratives explained, if one distinguishes two different styles of moral reason: an inferentialist style that generates the (...) puzzlement and an alternative exemplarist style that offers a compelling explanation of the morally educative power of pathographic literature. (shrink)
According to a venerable ideal, the core aim of philosophical practice is wisdom. The guiding concern of the ancient Greek, Indian, and Chinese traditions was the nature of the good life for human beings and the nature of reality. Central to these traditions is profound recognition of the subjection to adversities intrinsic to human life. I consider paradigmatic exemplars of wisdom, from ancient Western and Asian traditions, and the ways that experiences of adversity shaped their life. The suggestion is that (...) these exemplars, if any, will show how to live wisely in adversity. (shrink)
I argue that, although education should have positive effects on students’ epistemic character, it is often actually damaging, having bad effects. Rather than cultivating virtues of the mind, certain forms of education lead to the development of the vices of the mind - it is therefore epistemically corrupting. After sketching an account of that concept, I offer three illustrative case studies.
I introduce the concept pathophobia, to capture the range of morally objectionable forms of treatment to which somatically ill persons are subjected. After distinguishing this concept from sanism and ableism, I argue that the moral wrongs of pathophobia are best analysed using a framework of vice ethics. To that end I describe five clusters of pathophobic vices and failings, illustrating each with examples from three influential illness narratives.
Although the discipline of vice epistemology is only a decade old, the broader project of studying epistemic vices and failings is much older. This paper argues that contemporary vice epistemologists ought to engage more closely with these earlier projects. After sketching some general arguments in section one, I then turn to deep epistemic vices: ones whose identity and intelligibility depends on some underlying conception of human nature or the nature of reality. The final section then offers a case study from (...) a vice epistemic tradition that emerged in early modern English natural philosophy. (shrink)
I offer a way to reflect on and taxonomise the vices of the mind. This is the idea of capital vices, an idea that has, historically, been mainly confined to moral and spiritual character traits, but is able to play a role in vice epistemology—or so I propose.
I offer a working analysis of the concept of 'epistemic corruption', then explain how it can help us to understand the relations between epistemic vices and social oppression, and use this to motivate a style of vice epistemology, inspired by the work of Robin Dillon, that I call critical character epistemology.
I argue that Zhuangist Daoism manifests what I label the spiritual aspiration to emulation, and then use this to challenge some of John Cottingham's attempts to confine authentic spiritual experience to theistic traditions.
This paper explores the beauty of religious exemplars Ð those special persons whose conduct and comportment marks their life out as one that exemplifies a religious life. Such exemplars are consistently described as beautiful, but it is not clear how or why. I suggest that we can make sense of the aesthetically aspect of religious exemplarity by adopting a Ôvirtue-centricÕ theory of beauty that understands the beautiful in terms of the expression or manifestation of virtues. Religious exemplars are those who (...) have cultivated their virtues to an advanced degree and are beautiful for that reason. Attending to the beauty of religious exemplars can enrich exemplarist virtue theory, the aesthetics of character, and our understanding of the nature of a religious life. (shrink)
Many ancient traditions recognise certain people as exemplars of virtue. I argue that some of these traditions incorporate a 'cosmic' mode of emulation, where certain of the qualities or aspects of the grounds or source of the world manifest, in human form, as virtues. If so, the ultimate objection of emulation is not a human being. I illustrate this with the forms of Daoist exemplarity found in the Book of Zhuangzi, and end by considering the charge that the aspiration to (...) cosmic emulation is inhumane. (shrink)
Ill persons suffer from a variety of epistemically-inflected harms and wrongs. Many of these are interpretable as specific forms of what we dub pathocentric epistemic injustices, these being ones that target and track ill persons. We sketch the general forms of pathocentric testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, each of which are pervasive within the experiences of ill persons during their encounters in healthcare contexts and the social world. What’s epistemically unjust might not be only agents, communities and institutions, but the theoretical (...) conceptions of health that structure our responses to illness. Thus, we suggest that although such pathocentric epistemic injustices have a variety of interpersonal and structural causes, they are also sustained by a deeper naturalistic conception of the nature of illness. (shrink)
Criticism plays an essential role in the growth of scientific knowledge. In some cases, however, criticism can have detrimental effects; for example, it can be used to ‘manufacture doubt’ for the purpose of impeding public policy making on issues such as tobacco consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., Oreskes & Conway 2010). In this paper, we build on previous work by Biddle and Leuschner (2015) who argue that criticism that meets certain conditions can be epistemically detrimental. We extend and refine (...) their account by arguing that such criticism can be epistemically corrupting—it can create social conditions that are conducive to the development of epistemic vice by agents operating within them. (shrink)
Abstract Havi Carel has recently argued that one can be ill and happy. An ill person can ?positively respond? to illness by cultivating ?adaptability? and ?creativity?. I propose that Carel's claim can be augmented by connecting it with virtue ethics. The positive responses which Carel describes are best understood as the cultivation of virtues, and this adds a significant moral aspect to coping with illness. I then defend this claim against two sets of objections and conclude that interpreting Carel's phenomenology (...) of illness within a virtue-ethical framework enriches our understanding of how illness can be edifying. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that an aesthetics of exemplarity could be a useful component of projects of moral self-cultivation. Using some in Linda Zagzebski's exemplarism, I describe a distinctive, aesthetically-inflected mode of admiration called moral attraction whose object is the inner beauty of a persn - the expression of the 'inner' virtues or excellences of character of a person in 'outer' forms of bodily comportment that are experienced, by others, as beautiful. I then argue that certain (...) moral traditions deploy inner beauty within their practices of moral self-cultivation - a good example being Confucianism. Advocates of exemplarist moral education should therefore take seriously the ways that an aesthetics of exemplarity can play roles within projects of moral self-cultivation. (shrink)
This paper is a critique of ‘integrative medicine’ as an ideal of medical progress on the grounds that it fails to realise the cognitive value of alternative medicine. After a brief account of the cognitive value of alternative medicine, I outline the form of ‘integrative medicine’ defended by the late Stephen Straus, former director of the US National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Straus’ account is then considered in the light of Zuzana Parusnikova’s recent criticism of ‘integrative medicine’ and (...) her distinction between ‘cognitive’ and ‘opportunistic’ engagement with alternative medicine. Parusnikova warns that the medical establishment is guilty of ‘dogmatism’ and proposes that one can usefully invoke Karl Popper’s ‘critical rationalism’ as an antidote. Using the example of Straus, I argue that an appeal to Popper is insufficient, on the grounds that ‘integrative medicine’ can class as a form of cognitively-productive, critical engagement. I suggest that Parusnikova’s appeal to Popper should be augmented with Paul Feyerabend’s emphasis upon the role of ‘radical alternatives’ in maximising criticism. ‘Integrative medicine’ fails to maximise criticism because it ‘translates’ alternative medicine into the theories and terminology of allopathic medicine and so erodes its capacity to provide cognitively-valuable ‘radical alternatives’. These claims are then illustrated with a discussion of ‘traditional’ and ‘medical’ acupuncture. I conclude that ‘integrative medicine’ fails to exploit the cognitive value of alternative medicine and so should be rejected as an ideal of medical progress. (shrink)
Although critics often argue that the new atheists are arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded and so on, there is currently no philosophical analysis of this complaint - which I will call 'the vice charge' - and no assessment of whether it is merely a rhetorical aside or a substantive objection in its own right. This Chapter therefore uses the resources of virtue epistemology to articulate this ' vice charge' and to argue that critics are right to imply that new atheism is intrinsically (...) epistemically vicious, and it ends with some remarks about the rationality of allowing such intrinsically vicious doctrines to feature within public debate about important matters concerning science, religion, and politics. (shrink)
ABSTRACTI introduce the concept of pathophobia to capture the range of morally objectionable forms of treatment to which somatically ill persons are subjected. After distinguishing this concept from sanism and ableism, I argue that the moral wrongs of pathophobia are best analysed using a framework of vice ethics. To that end I describe five clusters of pathophobic vices and failings, illustrating each with examples from three influential illness narratives.
I offer an account of the virtue of intellectual humility, construed as a pair of dispositions enabling proper management of one's intellectual confidence. I then show its integral role in a range of familiar educational practices and concerns, and finally describe how certain entrenched educational attitudes and conceptions marginalise or militate against the cultivation and exercise of this virtue.
It is very well known that from the late-1960s onwards Feyerabend began to radically challenge some deeply-held ideas about the history and methodology of the sciences. It is equally well known that, from around the same period, he also began to radically challenge wider claims about the value and place of the sciences within modern societies, for instance by calling for the separation of science and the state and by questioning the idea that the sciences served to liberate and ameliorate (...) human societies. But what is less known is how, if at all, these two sets of challenges were connected, and why Feyerabend felt it important to raise them at all. In this chapter, my aim is to explore these issues by considering why Feyerabend used radical strategies to challenge the authority of science, and what purpose, if any, they were supposed to serve. Why, for instance, did Feyerabend defend alternative medicine, psychical abilities, astrology, magic and witchcraft and why did he argue that ‘Western science’ is complicit in environmental destruction, intellectual imperialism, social oppression, and spiritual destitution. Located in their historical and political context, such defences and arguments seem peculiar, not least because science was recognised not only as a central site of the intellectual and ideological competition between the West and the Soviet Union, but also because Western victory in that site was considered inevitable. What, then, did Feyerabend think he was trying to achieve by raising radical challenges to a central component of the cultural and intellectual prestige of the Western world grounded in appeals to practices and traditions which most would regard as eccentric at best and absurd at worst? My suggestion is that Feyerabend was making a subtler point than one might suppose. For the purpose of these radical challenges was to determine if the members of Western societies would in fact honour the epistemic standards – of tolerance, critical enquiry – which were identified as being characteristic of science and definitive of the social and political values of Western liberal democracy. I suggest that Feyerabend was trying to demonstrate that scientists were, too often, guilty of the same intolerant and dogmatic attitudes which were, according to prevailing propaganda, the property of illiberal totalitarian societies. Science does not reflect the superior epistemic and political values of Western societies but are, in fact, reflective of the same vices ascribed to the Soviet Union. If that is the case, then the sciences are not symbols of our epistemic and political values, but quite the reverse, hence Feyerabend’s talk of the ‘dogmatic’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘ratiofascist’ nature of modern science. But there is a positive upshot to Feyerabend’s challenge. For even if the sciences do not yet reflect the epistemic and political values of liberal democratic Western societies, they might yet be reformed so that they are. And there is a parallel between Feyerabend’s strategy and that of many of the other radicals of the time – student activists, environmentalists, and pacifists – namely to test the commitment to tolerance and deliberative debate of the establishment by asking it to seriously engage with ideas and convictions opposed to its own. For both science and society can become ‘tyrannical’ through the same means: by exempting themselves from critical scrutiny, by promoting self-serving ‘myths’ about themselves, and by derogating and excluding alternatives, including the ‘outsider’ perspectives they offer. The chapter concludes by suggesting that Feyerabend is distinctive in virtue of his willingness to offer radical criticisms of the authority of science such that it can fulfil its legitimate ideological role – namely, of symbolising and instantiating our core epistemic and political values – such that we can offer a sincere and meaningful answer to Feyerabend’s question ‘what’s so great about science?’. (shrink)
Epistemic injustice is a harm done to a person in their capacity as an epistemic subject by undermining her capacity to engage in epistemic practices such as giving knowledge to others or making sense of one’s experiences. It has been argued that those who suffer from medical conditions are more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than the healthy. This paper claims that people with mental disorders are even more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than those with somatic illnesses. Two kinds of contributory (...) factors for epistemic injustice in psychiatric patients are outlined: global and specific. Some suggestions are made to counteract the effects of these contributory factors, for instance we suggest that physicians should participate in groups where the subjective experience of patients is explored, and learn to become more aware of their own unconscious prejudices towards psychiatric patients. (shrink)
Mary Midgley argued that philosophy was a necessity, not a luxury. It's difficulties lie partly in the fact that, when doing it, we are struggling not only against the difficulty of the subject matter, but also certain tendencies within ourselves. I focus on two - one-way reductionism and myopic specialisation.
This chapter offers a virtue epistemological framework for making sense of the common complaint that scientism is arrogant, dogmatic, or otherwise epistemically vicious. After characterising scientism in terms of stances , I argue that their components can include epistemically vicious dispositions, with the consequence that an agent who adopts such stances can be led to manifest epistemic vices. The main focus of the chapter is the vice of closed-mindedness, but I go on to consider the idea that arrogance and dogmatism (...) are ‘cooperative vices’, ones liable to be activated by closed-mindedness. I conclude that determining whether or not any given stance is vicious will require sensitivity to the ontology of that stance and the psychology of the agents who adopt them. This would be contribute to our understanding both of scientism and of epistemic virtuous and vicious characters or psychologies. (shrink)
This paper explores the influence of the fifth-century Christian Neoplatonist Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (Denys) on the twentieth-century philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend. I argue that the later Feyerabend took from Denys a metaphysical claim—the ‘doctrine of ineffability’—intended to support epistemic pluralism. The paper has five parts. Part one introduces Denys and Feyerabend’s common epistemological concern to deny the possibility of human knowledge of ultimate reality. Part two examines Denys’ arguments for the ‘ineffability’ of God as presented in On the Divine (...) Names . Part three then explores how Feyerabend imported Denys’ account of divine ineffability into his own metaphysics to provide a novel argument for epistemic pluralism. Part four explains the significance of an appreciation of Dionyius’ influence for our understanding of Feyerabend. I conclude that Denys was a significant and neglected influence upon the later Feyerabend. (shrink)
This paper explores the influence of Søren Kierkegaard upon Paul Feyerabend by examining their common criticisms of totalising accounts of human nature. Both complained that philosophical and scientific theories of human nature which were methodologically committed to objectivity and abstraction failed to capture the richness of human experience. Kierkegaard and Feyerabend argued that philosophy and the science were threatening to become obstacles to human development by imposing abstract theories of human nature and reality which denied the complexities of both. In (...) both cases, this took the form of asserting an ‘existential’ criterion for the assessment of philosophical and scientific theories. Kierkegaard also made remarks upon the inappropriateness of applying natural scientific methods to human beings which Feyerabend later expanded and developed in his criticisms of the inability of the ‘scientific worldview’ to accommodate the values necessary to a flourishing human life. I conclude by noting some differences between Kierkegaard and Feyerabend’s positions and by affirming the value of existential criticisms of scientific knowledge.Keywords: Feyerabend; Kierkegaard; Objectivity;ion; Human nature. (shrink)
This article offers a sympathetic interpretation of Paul Feyerabend's remarks on science and education. I present a formative episode in the development of his educational ideas—the ‘Berkeley experience'—and describe how it affected his views on the place of science within modern education. It emerges that Feyerabend arrived at a conception of education closely related to that of Michael Oakeshott and Martin Heidegger—that of education as ‘releasement’. Each of those three figures argued that the purpose of education was not to induct (...) students into prevailing norms and convictions, but rather to initiate them into the ‘civilized inheritance of mankind’. I conclude that interpreting Feyerabend's educational ideas within this conception of education as releasement lends a new coherence to his remarks on science and education, in a way that renders certain of his political proposals—such as the ‘separation of science and the state'—both more coherent and more compelling. (shrink)
Feyerabend is well-known as a pluralist, and notorious for his defences of, and sympathetic references to, heterodox subjects, such as parapsychology. Focusing on the latter, I ask how we should understand the relationship between the pluralism and the defences, drawing on Marcello Truzzi's and Martin Gardner's remarks on Feyerabend along the way.
In a recent article in this journal, Steve Clarke and Adrian Walsh propose a normative basis for John Dupré’s criticisms of scientific imperialism, namely, that scientific imperialism can cause a discipline to fail to progress in ways that it otherwise would have. This proposal is based on two presuppositions: one, that scientific disciplines have developmental teleologies, and two, that these teleologies are optimal. I argue that we should reject both of these presuppositions and so conclude that Clarke and Walsh’s proposal (...) is insufficiently warranted for it to provide a normative basis for criticisms of scientific imperialism. (shrink)
David Stump has recently argued that Pierre Duhem can be interpreted as a virtue epistemologist. Stump’s claims have been challenged by Milena Ivanova on the grounds that Duhem’s ‘epistemic aims’ are more modest than those of virtue epistemologists. I challenge Ivanova’s criticism of Stump by arguing that she not distinguish between ‘reliabilist’ and ‘responsibilist’ virtue epistemologies. Once this distinction is drawn, Duhem clearly emerges as a ‘virtue-responsibilist’ in a way that complements Ivanova’s positive proposal that Duhem’s ‘good sense’ reflects a (...) conception of the ‘ideal scientist’. I support my proposal that Duhem is a ‘virtue-responsibilist’ by arguing that his rejection of the possibility of our producing a ‘perfect theory’ reflects the key responsibilist virtue of ‘intellectual humility’.Keywords: David Stump; Good sense; Humility; Milena Ivanova; Pierre Duhem; Virtue epistemology. (shrink)
Since subjection to harm is an intrinsic feature of our social and epistemic lives, there is a perpetual need for individual and collective agents with the virtue of epistemic courage. In this chapter, I survey some of the main issues germane to this virtue, such as the nature of courage and of harm, the range of epistemic activities that can manifest courage, and the status of epistemic courage as a collective and as a professional virtue.
According to some recent critics, philosophy has not progressed over the course of its history because it has not exhibited any substantial increase in the stock of human wisdom. I reject this pessimistic conclusion by arguing that such criticisms employ a conception of progress drawn from the sciences which is inapplicable to a humanistic discipline such as philosophy. Philosophy should not be understood as the accumulation of epistemic goods in a manner analogous to the natural sciences. I argue that the (...) progressiveness of philosophy consists, if anything, in its capacity to provoke and sustain critical reflections upon the ideas and practices which shape and guide human life. (shrink)
David. E. Cooper’s claim in Animals and Misanthropy is that honest reflection on the ways human beings treat and compare with animals encourages a dark, misanthropic judgment on humankind. Treatment of animals manifests a range of vices and failings that are ubiquitous and entrenched in our practices, institutions, and forms of life, organized by Cooper into five clusters. Moreover, comparisons of humans and animals reveals both affinities and similarities, including a crucial difference that animals are capable of virtues while being (...) vice-free, whereas humans are both virtuous and vicious. Various familiar ways of thinking morally and scientifically about animal life are criticized for being overly abstract, occluding richer ways of engaging with animals that are better able to disclose the fundamental wrong of their treatment by humans. The book offers a concise, lucid challenge to mainstream ways of thinking morally about animals and to comfortably optimistic estimations of the moral performance of humankind. (shrink)
This chapter charts various ways that religious persons and groups can be perpetrators and victims of epistemic injustice. The practices of testifying and interpreting experiences take a range of distinctive forms in religious life, for instance, if the testimonial practices require a special sort of religious accomplishment, such as enlightenment, or if proper understanding of religious experiences is only available to those with authentic faith. But it is also clear that religious communities and traditions have been sources of epistemic injustice, (...) for instance, by conjoining epistemic and spiritual credibility in ways disadvantageous to ‘deviant’ groups. I focus mainly on the major monotheistic religions, culturally dominant in the modern West. (shrink)
My aim in this chapter is to reconstruct Feyerabend’s anti-scientism by comparing it with the similar critiques of one of his main philosophical influences – Ludwig Wittgenstein. I argue that they share a common conception of scientism that gathers around a concern that it erodes a sense of wonder or mystery required for a full appreciation of human existence – a sense that Feyerabend, like Wittgenstein, characterised in terms of the ‘mystical’.
I propose that Confucianism incorporates a latent commitment to the closely related epistemic virtues of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Confucian praise of certain people, practices, and dispositions is only fully intelligible if these are seen as exercises and expressions of epistemic virtues, of which curiosity and inquisitiveness are the obvious candidates. My strategy is to take two core components of Confucian ethical and educational practice and argue that each presupposes a specific virtue. To have and to express a ‘love of learning’ (...) requires the virtue of curiosity, while the normative practice of good questioning requires exercise of the virtue of inquisitiveness. Taken together, people engaging in the foundational Confucian project of moral self-cultivation must desire and acquire a range of epistemic goods, a set of dispositions that manifest in the virtues of curiosity and inquisitiveness, possession of which is admirable and excellent. Such, at least, is the claim defend in this chapter, which is an exercise in cross-cultural virtue epistemology. (shrink)
A review of Nicolas Bommarito's book, "Inner Virtue", which argues persuasively that our "inner states" - emotions, pleasures, attentional habits - can be virtuous if they manifest what he calls our "moral concerns".