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Adjust Both: Adjusting Credibility Excesses for Epistemic Justice
Whittaker, Lindsay Melissa
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Epistemologists and those involved in feminist philosophy have expanded philosophical analyses of epistemic injustices and its subparts over the last decade. In doing so, such authors have thoroughly discussed the role of credibility deficits and the harms they cause for those receiving the deficits. In this literature, however, credibility excesses have not received as much attention owing to their tendency to be socially advantageous for those receiving them. In this paper, I show that epistemic justice relies in part on taking these excesses into account. More specifically, I illustrate how adjusting only credibility deficits leads to a two-fold problem. On the one hand, it leads to an epistemic harm insofar as not taking the excesses into account can cause us to draw the wrong conclusion from furnished testimonies. If one persons testimonial excess is still greater than another's corrected deficit in a certain way, then the person with the excess will be favored over the other person even once the deficit is corrected. On the other hand, it can also lead to a moral harm that wrongs the person who received the eventually corrected deficit in their capacity as a knower. It does so in instances when it undermines the person's self-trust. As such, if we are willing to adjust credibility deficits up in the project of epistemic justice we also have to be willing to adjust credibility excesses down in at least some cases.
- Masters Theses