Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 25, Issue 3, 2021

Hsiang-Yun ChenOrcid-ID, Li-an Yu, Linus Ta-Lun HuangOrcid-ID
Pages 503-512

To Mask or Not to Mask
Epistemic Injustice in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Reluctance to adopt mask-wearing as a preventive measure is widely observed in many Western societies since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemics. This reluctance toward mask adoption, like any other complex social phenomena, will have multiple causes. Plausible explanations have been identified, including political polarization, skepticism about media reports and the authority of public health agencies, and concerns over liberty, amongst others. In this paper, we propose potential explanations hitherto unnoticed, based on the framework of epistemic injustice. We show how testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice may be at work to shape the reluctant mask adoption at both the societal and individual levels. We end by suggesting how overcoming these epistemic injustices can benefit the global community in this challenging situation and in the future.