Epistemic objectification as the primary harm of testimonial injustice

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Abstract

This paper criticises Miranda Fricker’s account of the primary harm of testimonial injustice as a kind of epistemic objectification, where the latter is understood on the model provided by Martha Nussbaum’s influential analysis of sexual objectification and where it is taken to involve the denial someone’s epistemic agency. I examine the existing objections to Fricker’s account of the primary harm, criticising some while accepting the force of others, and I argue that one of Fricker’s own central examples of testimonial injustice in fact offers the basis of a particularly telling objection. While Fricker’s other critics have mostly concluded that we need to look at alternative theoretical resources to offer an account of the primary harm of testimonial injustice, I aim to show that this is premature; both Fricker and her critics have underestimated the resources provided by Nussbaum’s analysis of objectification when offering an account of the primary harm, and something very much in the spirit of Fricker’s account survives the objections.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEpisteme
Early online date5 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • epistemic injustice
  • objectification
  • testimonial injustice

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