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Varieties of Hermeneutical Injustice: A Blueprint

  • Christine Bratu and Hilkje Haenel EMAIL logo


In this paper, we have two goals. First, we argue for a blueprint for hermeneutical injustice that allows us to schematize existing and discover new varieties of hermeneutical injustices. The underlying insight is that Fricker provides both a general concept of hermeneutical injustice and a specific conception thereof. By distinguishing between the general concept and its specific conceptions, we gain a fruitful tool to detect such injustices in our everyday lives. Second, we use this blueprint to provide a further example of hermeneutical injustice that draws our attention to yet another distinction: Some hermeneutical injustices result from a lack or distortion in the collective conceptual resource and some are due to problems in the application of existing concepts. We argue that to combat hermeneutical injustices, we have to make sure not only that individuals have accurate concepts at their disposal but that they have the capabilities to use these concepts adequately.

Corresponding author: Hilkje Haenel, Universität Potsdam, Politische Theorie, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät, August-Bebel-Str. 89, 14482 Potsdam, E-mail:


We are grateful for the opportunity to present this paper at the Workshop Feminist Theories in Political Philosophy in Bern organized by Anna Goppel and Christian Budnik, at the Munich Colloquium for Ethics organized by Jan-Christoph Heilinger and at the XXVI. DKPhil in Berlin and we thank the participants of these events for their helpful feedback. The paper benefitted enormously from the critical remarks and suggestions by Matt Congdon, Deborah Mühlebach and Tamara Jugov and the anonymous reviewers. Special thanks to Justus-Lou Witte for help with the final manuscript.


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Published Online: 2021-01-28
Published in Print: 2021-10-26

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