An Epistemic Injustice Critique of Austin’s Ordinary Language Epistemology


J.L. Austin argues that ordinary language should be used to identify when it is appropriate or inappropriate to make, accept, or reject knowledge claims. I criticize Austin’s account: In our ordinary life, we often accept justifications rooted in racism, sexism, ableism, and classism as reasons to dismiss knowledge claims or challenges, despite the fact such reasons are not good reasons. Austin’s Ordinary Language Epistemology (OLE) classifies the discounting of knowledge claims in classic cases of epistemic injustice as legitimate ordinary maneuvers. I provide recommendations for revision of OLE and offer a means of distinguishing between dismissals in cases of epistemic injustice and their legitimate counterparts

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This paper was published in PhilPapers.

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