It can be difficult to hold onto or develop your social identity often because it can often be harshly challenged, opposed or ridiculed by others, even without justifiable reason. This is often due to ignorance towards other cultures and beliefs, or in worse cases intolerance towards them. This can lead to epistemic injustice. In the following essay I will define epistemic injustice in terms of its core components testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, and thereafter relate my personal experiences to where I fell victim to these injustices. Ultimately I will then explore how positive education can lead to understanding, and a reduction in epistemic injustice.
There are three components relating to the definition of educational knowledge: belief, truth and justification (Horsthemke, 2013). Beliefs are essential to the acquisition of knowledge, justification comes in as a learner or individual may need good reasons (justifications) for believing something and successful teaching stems from being able to make a student come to believe something (Horsthemke, 2013). Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge and it is based on truth and belief. “To know something, according to Descartes a) you must believe it, b) it must be true and c) you must have indefeasible evidence for the belief.” (Appiah 2003:47).
The aspect of epistemic injustice is discussed in Horsthemke (2013), and it is broken down into two kinds, namely testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice.