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TABOO, HERMENEUTICAL INJUSTICE, AND EXPRESSIVELY FREE ENVIRONMENTS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 July 2015

Abstract

In Epistemic Injustice (2007), Miranda Fricker has insightfully introduced the notion of a hermeneutical injustice, where historic conditions of marginalisation serve to deprive individuals of the appropriate hermeneutical resources with which to render significant patches of their experience fully intelligible to themselves and others. In this paper I draw attention to a shortcoming in Fricker's account: that the only hermeneutical resource she acknowledges is a shared conceptual framework. Consequently, Fricker creates the impression that hermeneutical injustice manifests itself almost exclusively in the form of a conceptual lacuna. Considering the negative hermeneutical impact of certain societal taboos, however, suggests that there can be cases of hermeneutical injustice even when an agent's conceptual repertoire is perfectly adequate. I argue that this observation highlights the need to expand Fricker's account to accommodate a wider range of hermeneutical resources and, in turn, a broader taxonomy of hermeneutical injustice. Specifically, my central case of a societal taboo presses the need to recognize as a valuable hermeneutical resource an expressively free environment, in which individuals can put their conceptual-interpretative resources to good hermeneutical effect.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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