CANCELLED: Philosophy Programme Seminar - False Confessions, Memory and Epistemic Injustice

Date Thursday 26 March 2020
Time 3:10pm - 4:30pm
Where TT1.01
Presenter Chloe Wall (University of Waikato / University of Otago)
Contact Dr Justine Kingsbury
Contact email
Admission Cost Free


The past decade has seen an explosion of literature on the topic of epistemic injustice. While Miranda Fricker’s (2007) book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing sparked this explosion, many of the ideas contained therein were first articulated by scholars such as Alcoff (1996), hooks (1992), Hull et al. (1982), Ikuenobe (1998), Collins (2000), Carby (1982), and Ladner (1995). (See McKinnon 2016 for remarks on the genealogy of the concept of epistemic injustice.) Nevertheless, Fricker’s work became the catalyst for the surge of interest in the topic. Her conceptualisation of epistemic injustice as a “kind of wrong done specifically to someone in her capacity as a knower” and as taking the two distinct forms of testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice have been highly influential in the resulting discussion. I aim to contribute to the discussion by expanding the notion of epistemic injustice to memory. I take as my starting point the common view that memory and testimony are analogous, and from there, argue roughly as follows: since memory and testimony are analogous, and there is such a thing as testimonial injustice, so there is such a thing as memorial injustice. I further argue that memorial injustice comes about as a direct result of the memorial analogues of the phenomena that precipitate testimonial injustice. I begin with a summary of the current state of the testimonial injustice literature. I then recapitulate some of the claims I have previously made about the importance of mindreading to producing and interpreting testimony. Next, I consider the ways in which metacognition in memory plays a similar role to mindreading (theory of mind) in testimony, and argue that both alike are contributing factors to testimonial injustice. I argue that, just as failures of mindreading contribute to testimonial injustice (Hyde 2016), analogous failures of metacognition contribute to memorial injustice. Finally, I offer an account of memorial injustice, in which I describe the phenomenon and precisify the conditions under which a metacognitive malfunction rises to the level of an injustice. I take internalised false confessions to exemplify memorial injustice.