Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Problem is Hermeneutical Injustice and The Solution is Conceptual Engineering

Will add more to this soon (hopefully?. For now, can say that these two concepts are the closest I've yet found to describing both of...

1) The type of problems this blog is attempting to point out and address

2) A means by which to attempt building solutions to or mitigation of those problems.

The Problem - Hermeneutical Injustice

What is hermeneutical injustice?

"Hermeneutical injustice occurs when someone's experiences are not well understood — by themselves or by others — because these experiences do not fit any concepts known to them (or known to others), due to the historic exclusion of some groups of people from activities, such as scholarship and journalism, that shape the language people use to make sense of their experiences"

Source: Wikipedia article on Epistemic Injustice

Example of hermeneutical injustice

"In the 1970s, the phrase sexual harassment was introduced to describe something that many people, especially women, had long experienced. Imagine the year is 1960, before the term was introduced, and a woman experiences sexual harassment. She may have difficulty putting her experience into words. According to [Maria] Fricker, the difficulty that she faces is no accident. It is due largely to women's exclusion from full participation in the shaping of the English language. Now suppose it is 1980, after the term was introduced. The woman may now understand what happened to her better. However, she may struggle to explain this experience to someone else, because the concept of sexual harassment is not yet well known. The difficulty she faces is again no accident, according to Fricker. It is due largely to women's exclusion from equal participation in journalism, publishing, academia, law, and the other institutions and industries that help people make sense of their lives. Fricker argues that some women's lives are less intelligible – to themselves, and/or to others – because women have historically wielded less power to shape the categories through which we all understand the world. Fricker claims that this is also true of other marginalized groups"

Source: Wikipedia article on Epistemic Injustice

A Solution - Conceptual Engineering

What is conceptual engineering?

"Conceptual engineering is the design, implementation, and evaluation of concepts."

Source: What is conceptual engineering and what should it be by David Chalmers

"Concepts are constitutive of social structure. They lay the groundwork for social interaction, shaping the way we organize and coordinate our behavior in response to the world, and those we share the world with"

"Conceptual engineers, tasked with thinking about injustice, assess the concepts that affect the character and direction of our lives, and make a determination as to whether such concepts must be removed, revised, or replaced."

Source: Conceptual Engineering and Structural Injustice by Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky

Example of conceptual engineering

"[An] example is Kate Manne’s (2018) proposed definition of misogyny, the aim of which is to understand misogyny as a structural phenomenon about gendered policing mechanisms, rather than the attitude of bad eggs."

Source: Conceptual Engineering and Structural Injustice by Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky

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