Salient Alternatives and Epistemic Injustice in Folk Epistemology

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Abstract

The notion of salience figures prominently in contemporary epistemology and some empirical evidence suggests a salient alternatives effect on folk epistemological ascriptions of knowledge: People are less inclined to ascribe knowledge that p to a subject when a possibility, q, that is incompatible with p is salient. The paper builds on previous work in which I argue that the salient alternative effect on knowledge ascriptions is best understood as a cognitive bias. I continue this approach by considering a number of questions for foundational epistemology that arise from further reflection on the salience of alternatives and epistemic position. On this basis, I turn to more applied issues. First, I draw on a body of work in social psychology in order to motivate the working-hypothesis that social stereotypes will make some alternatives more, and some less, salient. Likewise, I empirically motivate a related working-hypothesis that social stereotypes may lead to both overestimation and underestimation of a subject's epistemic position. Finally, I argue that if these working-hypotheses are true, the outcome may be a distinctive route to epistemic injustice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSalience : A Philosophical Inquiry
EditorsSophie Archer
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date28. Feb 2022
Pages213-234
Chapter12
ISBN (Print)978-0-815-38519-6, 978-1-032-19947-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-351-20211-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28. Feb 2022

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