Please join us at The Center for Knowledge, Technology, and Society for an in-person talk by Martina Fürst (University of Graz) on

Thursday May 11th, 3:30-4.50pm, Humanities Gateway (HG 1010)


'Varieties of Phenomenal Knowledge and Hermeneutical Injustice'

Martina Fürst, University of Graz

In her influential work on epistemic injustice, besides testimonial injustice, Fricker (2007) analyzes hermeneutical injustice. Hermeneutical injustice occurs when the victims lack the interpretative resources to make their experience intelligible to themselves and to others, and this lacuna can be traced down to a structural injustice. According to Fricker, for hermeneutical injustice to vanish, novel public concepts need to be generated. However, establishing novel concepts is not sufficient for fully dissolving hermeneutical injustice. For example, the powerful might neglect the novel concept or offer counterinterpretations of the target phenomenon (Pohlhaus 2012, Medina 2013). In my talk, I argue that phenomenal knowledge is key for overcoming those instances of hermeneutical injustice that persist even once novel public concepts have been coined. First, I distinguish two ways of phenomenally knowing an experience: direct phenomenal knowledge, which is available only to subjects who had the target experience, and imaginative phenomenal knowledge, which is also open to subjects who did not or cannot have the target experience. Second, I discuss the possibilities and limits of gaining imaginative knowledge of the experiences of members of marginalized groups. Third, I argue that a particular form of imaginative phenomenal knowledge is  a powerful tool to overcome hermeneutical injustice that takes the form of counterinterpretations and dismissal of the novel concepts.