Valor in the Pursuit of Epistemic Justice

Word reached us, thanks to the special cable linking feminist hot spots across the globe, about the business meeting held by a certain philosophical society at its annual meeting.  As the plans for the upcoming conference were being discussed, Jacqueline Taylor (philosophy, University of San Francisco) pointed out that important positions were going disproportionately to men.  As one should expect, Prof Taylor’s remark was not received with unreserved enthusiasm.  On the contrary…

When women are not counted as equally valued creators of knowledge as men, we suffer a kind of epistemic injustice.  Many women’s careers bear the marks of unjust treatment.  Conferences are exceptionally important for drawing attention to women’s work and, consequently, for helping to establish epistemic justice.  Conferences can equally contribute to the perpetuation of such injustice.

Prof Taylor is a regular reader of this blog, and so she is well aware that of the gendered conference campaign and its costs.  A woman who calls out members of the profession on issues about epistemic justice is hardly behaving winningly.  So let’s recognize her and others who step outside the expected patterns of behavior to try to create an awareness of these important issues.  They exhibit valor in the pursuit of epistemic justice.

(With thanks to the work of Miranda Fricker on epistemic injustice.)

6 thoughts on “Valor in the Pursuit of Epistemic Justice

  1. Thanks, jj. I will note that while there was resistance to my challenge, I was privately thanked by at least a dozen men and women at the conference. I know all too well the frustration of hearing of the importance of male philosophers while women are neglected, and I hope this not only raises awareness but prompts others to speak out.

  2. Thanks, Jackie. I’m very glad you got overt thanks, and expect that many more people were glad you raised the question.

    I should also have pointed out that one reason for negative reactions is the recognition that discrimination is a bad thing, and the upside of that is that most people are motivated to change situations that are discriminatory, if they can.

    It seems increasingly to me worth stressing that the issue is not really about the number of women, but rather about the status of women’s research.

  3. I know a brilliant philosopher and astronomer who contributed a lot in the field of astronomy and philosophy. He’s name was Guillermo Haro.
    Guillermo Haro was very famous, and at the same time, very influential in the development of astronomy in Mexico, not only because of his own astronomical research but also by helping in the promotion of the development of new institutions for astronomy. Moreover, he defined modern astrophysical research in Mexico where he paved the way to various initial lines of research and established general scientific policies.

  4. Thanks for speaking out Jackie!!!!

    There were no plenary women speakers (out of 5 speakers in total) at the BSPS (British Society for the Philosophy of Science) Conference last week, and only two female speakers out of something like 12 at the Joint Session this weekend.

    It made me sad.

  5. Ron, I just moved your comment from spam; could you explain why you think it is relevant to this post.

    I don’t think the spam detector has a keen eye for relevance, and I’m not sure why your post was put there.

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