Epistemic Injustice and Religion

Authored by: Ian James Kidd

The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138828254
eBook ISBN: 9781315212043
Adobe ISBN: 9781351814508

10.4324/9781315212043.ch36

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Abstract

This chapter charts various ways that religious persons and groups can be perpetrators and victims of epistemic injustice. Religious persons and communities can commit, or can suffer, epistemic injustices. Miranda Fricker, for instance, mentions religion as a ‘dimension of social activity’ that prejudices could track but does not focus upon it (2007, 27). A religious identity can invite others’ prejudice and entail activities and experiences that others might find difficult to make sense of, while also shaping a person’s epistemic sensibilities. The practices of testifying to and interpreting experiences take a range of distinctive forms in religious life – for instance, if the testimonial practices require a special sort of religious accomplishment or if proper understanding of religious experiences is only available to those with authentic faith. But it is also clear that religious communities and traditions have been sources of epistemic injustice – for instance, by conjoining epistemic and spiritual credibility in ways disadvantageous to ‘deviant’ groups. I explore the ways that epistemic injustice and religion can interact and focus mainly on the major monotheistic religions that are culturally dominant in the modern West.

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