Agential Epistemic Injustice and Collective Epistemic Resistance in the Criminal Justice System

José Medina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper offers an analysis of how the American criminal justice system sets unfair constraints on the epistemic agency of detained subjects and promotes unfair negative consequences on the exercise of their epistemic agency. In Section 1, I distinguish three different kinds of agential epistemic injustices: those that occur when subjects are only believed when they are deprived of epistemic agency (as shown by Jennifer Lackey’s analysis of false confessions); those that occur when the subject’s exercise of epistemic agency is nullified or diminished by the cancelling or subversion of the force of their speech acts (illocutionary silencing/flipping); and those that occur when the subject’s exercise of epistemic agency is nullified or diminished by being given no uptake or negative and inhibitory uptake in a way that short-circuits the perlocutionary effects of their speech acts (perlocutionary silencing/flipping). In Section 2, I discuss ways in which epistemically oppressed subjects can resist agential epistemic injustices by augmenting and protecting their epistemic group agency through what I call epistemic activism, that is, resistant epistemic group action carried out by them collectively and sometimes in coordination with allies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Epistemology
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Epistemic agency
  • epistemic activism
  • epistemic injustice
  • epistemic neglect
  • silencing
  • testimonial insensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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