Date of Award

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Andrea Westlund

Second Advisor

Edward Hinchman

Committee Members

Andrea Westlund, Edward Hinchman, Blain Neufeld


In this paper, I investigate how the notion of epistemic injustice relates to two distinct, though not incompatible, models of the phenomenon of silencing: epistemic and linguistic. I argue that a linguistic model of silencing can be used to elucidate the nature of hermeneutical injustice—a type of epistemic injustice identified by Miranda Fricker. I put forth my own reformulation of the linguistic model of silencing as locutionary (as opposed to illocutionary) disablement, when it occurs in cases of hermeneutical injustice, and I argue that this reformulation can respond to the criticism that Fricker’s construal of hermeneutical injustice falls prey to charges of epistemic hegemony. I conclude by suggesting that this form of silencing, which has its origins in a history of political domination and dehumanization, is connected to a third, distinctive form of epistemic injustice (beyond testimonial and hermeneutical injustice), which concerns the unfair distribution of the burdens of communication between members of differently situated social groups.

Included in

Epistemology Commons