I know what you’ve been wondering: where has Philosophy Tag been? Actually, maybe some of you are wondering: what is Philosophy Tag?
Philosophy Tag is, unsurprisingly, a game. Here’s how it works: Philosopher 1 is tagged and becomes it. When you’re it, you have a few weeks to do the following: choose an article or chapter by another living philosopher, Philosopher 2, that you’ve read and liked; write up your “tag,” including bibliographic information and a description of what the article says and why you like it (keep it brief, like 2-4 sentences), and send that to me . When I publish it here, Philosopher 2 is thereby tagged and becomes it, and the game begins again. (I will refrain from contacting the newly tagged for a while, but if you know the person who has been tagged, feel free to let them know.) The game was invented by Dana Howard for Daily Nous, and has been going on for a while.
Anyway, after a slightly extended break I am pleased to announce that the game, which had spiraled madly out of control with people tagging WHOLE BOOKS instead of articles or chapters, is back on track. When the game was last played, Corey Brettschneider (Brown), who had been tagged by Sarah Conly (Bowdoin), tagged Eric Beerbohm (Harvard) for his book (grrr) In Our Name: The Ethics of Democracy. Perhaps it is no surprise, though, that someone with an appreciation for democracy would accede to the will of the people and gracefully follow the rules of the game, tagging someone for a work of more manageable length. Thank you, Eric. Let’s see who he has tagged…
This Fall I taught a seminar on knowing and acting under conditions of structural injustice. The goal was to connect up the literatures on distributive justice and epistemic injustice. There we got to know Miranda Fricker’s work, which bears on epistemic practices dear to political theory.
So let me “tag” a more recent and wonderful paper of Fricker’s, “Silence and Institutional Prejudice.” As you might expect, there her work takes an institutional turn. She worries about failures of political institutions to demonstrate the virtue of testimonial injustice. She writes: “If our police, our juries, our complaints panels lack that virtue, then some groups cannot contest.” As citizens we have strong reasons to preserve their ability to challenge public propositions of value and empirical facts as falsehoods and perpetuated lies. As Bernard Williams puts it, the latter serves as the “sharp end of a critique of injustice.” Fricker’s paper sets the stage for greater attention to the epistemic vices of our public institutions. This isn’t just a topic for epistemic democrats, but political philosophy writ large. Miranda Fricker, you are it!
“Silence and Institutional Prejudice” is a chapter in the book, Out from the Shadows: Analytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2012), edited by Sharon L. Crasnow and Anita M. Superson. I would like to thank Joy Mizan of Oxford University Press and the good people at Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO) for playing along with Philosophy Tag and providing free online access to this chapter here.