Testimonial Injustice and Mutual Recognition



Much of the recent work on the nature of testimonial injustice holds that a hearer who fails to accord sufficient credibility to a speaker’s testimony, owing to identity prejudice, can thereby wrong that speaker. What is it to wrong someone in this way? This paper offers an account of the wrong at the heart of testimonial injustice that locates it in a failure of interpersonal justifiability. On the account I develop, one that draws directly from T. M. Scanlon’s moral contractualist framework, a hearer who fails to accord sufficient credibility to a speaker, owing to identity prejudice, cannot justify his response to that speaker, insofar as the speaker can reasonably reject principles that would permit the hearer to prejudicially discount the speaker’s testimony. I argue that my account can better illuminate the idea, shared among many philosophers, that testimonial injustice centrally involves some kind of failure, on the hearer’s part, to appropriately recognize the speaker. In contractualist terms, this consists in a failure of mutual recognition—a failure to acknowledge the speaker as having standing to co-determine the terms on which the hearer and speaker, as epistemic agents, are to engage with each other in testimonial exchanges.


How to Cite: Crawford, L. (2021) “Testimonial Injustice and Mutual Recognition”, Ergo. 7(0). doi: