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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 25, Issue 1, Fall 2020

Magnus Ferguson
Pages 21-34

Hermeneutical Justice in Fricker, Dotson, and Arendt

I propose that Hannah Arendt’s hermeneutical philosophy can make important contributions to ongoing debates in the study of epistemic injustice. Building on Kristie Dotson’s concern that Miranda Fricker’s formulation of hermeneutical injustice is needlessly restrictive, I argue that Arendt’s concept of ‘thinking’ challenges us to imagine a form of hermeneutical virtue that is rigorously self-critical. The self-destructive tendency of Arendtian thinking may help to guard against the specific danger that Dotson identifies - namely, that an overly rigid approach to hermeneutical injustice and hermeneutical virtue can itself generate situations of epistemic injustice. Despite important differences that emerge, it is productive to bring together Fricker’s concept of hermeneutical virtue and Arendt’s concept of self-undermining thinking in order to reveal the ways in which these two corrective strategies might enrich and pose important challenges for the other.

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