Miranda Fricker’s Article summarizes the main themes that the author addressed in their book titled Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (Oxford University Press (OUP) 2007) (Fricker, 2008). The article emphasizes that the primary goal of the book was to address the issue of Epistemic Injustice. The author discusses impediment to the acquisition and transfer of knowledge arising because of two fundamental injustices. One injustice discussed in the book and the article is testimonial injustice. Fricker observes that testimony is a significant source of knowledge. If a speaker’s degree of credibility is deflated by a listener due to issues like prejudice, they are wronged by the listener and have, thus suffered an epistemic injustice. The second form of epistemic injustice that Fricker discusses is hermeneutical injustice which arises when one is unable to make sense of a social experience due to the lack of the collective understanding that is necessary to making sense of the same.
One sentence that stood out for me in the article addresses the importance of testimony in the acquisition of knowledge. Part of the sentence reads “…few would deny that an enormous amount of what we know is, at root, testimonially acquired” (Fricker, 2008, p 69). I completely agree with the view that a lot of what human being know is acquired through testimony. People who have direct knowledge or who have received the knowledge from others pass the same to other people in the form of testimony. If people were to reject testimony as a source of knowledge, very little would be regarded to be known. The first part of the sentence states that philosophers debate on how vital testimony is as a source of knowledge. Such debates are critical as one of the critical challenges of information obtained in the form of testimony can be wrong.
Fricker’s discussion of epistemic injustice and in particular testimonial and hermeneutical is of vital importance. Rarely do people connect certain kinds of epistemic dysfunction with ethics. Testimony has been an essential source of knowledge throughout the years. Fricker’s point that being prejudiced towards a speaker deflates their credibility is correct. The speaker is denied the attention that they deserve for no good reason. If the speaker’s testimony has consistently been unreliable in the past, that would be a valid ground for deflating their credibility. Deflating a speakers credibility because of prejudice wrongs the speaker and thus unethical. The concept of testimonial injustice should not, however, be used to combat healthy skepticism towards information passed through testimony. People usually receive false or inaccurate information from others and pass the same to others. Being skeptical concerning the information is desirable. Degrading the speaker’s credibility based on prejudice is what should be considered unethical.
Fricker’s discussion of hermeneutical injustice also contains many valid points. The lack of necessary information regarding context, time, and place among other things may lead people to fail to understand the information that they receive or to misunderstand a social experience. If a speaker is misunderstood because of hermeneutical issues, it is also true that they have been wronged. One problem with hermeneutical injustice is that the parties responsible for committing the same are unlikely to be unaware of hermeneutical issues and, thus ignorant of having wronged another party or parties. The two injustices need to be emphasized to avoid people committing the same.
In the previous three requirements I did three things. The first thing was to summarize the content of Miranda Fricker’s Article that addressed the key points that the author focused on in their book titled Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. The second thing was to select a sentence in the article and conduct a close reading of the same. Thirdly, I analyzed the contents of the article and expressed my opinion in the analysis. Below is a summary of the work I did on the three requirements:
Fricker, M. (2008). On Miranda Fricker’s Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing: Précis. THEORIA. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia, 23(1), 69-71.