Testimonial Injustice in Evidential Reasoning

A Reply to Federico Picinali


  • Rachel Herdy Profesora Associada, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez


This article critiques Federico Picinali’s theoretical framework for explaining how testimonial injustice impacts evidential reasoning. It argues that Picinali’s framework, though intended to be general, falls short in capturing various forms of testimonial injustice in the assessments of relevance and probative value. Two reasons are offered to support this conclusion. First, Picinali’s emphasis on the idea of stock of knowledge offers an intricate manifestation of the phenomenon, leaving aside cases of testimonial injustice simpliciter. Second, his framework overlooks instances of credibility excess and how epistemic harms that affect different agents may ricochet to the parties. It is argued that Picinali’s framework can be improved by adopting a description of testimonial injustice in the assessments of relevance and probative value that is less intricate and more relational.

Palabras clave

Testimonial Injustice, Hermeneutical Injustice, Credibility, Stock of Knowledge, evidencial law, intelligibility


Arcila-Valenzuela, M. and Páez, A. (2022). Testimonial Injustice: The Facts of the Matter. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-022-00662-w

Coloma, R. and Rimoldi, F. (2023). ¿Es útil el concepto de injusticia epistémica para los procedimientos penales? Revista Brasileira de Direito Processual Penal, 9(1), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.22197/rbdpp.v9i1.789

Davis, E. (2016). Typecasts, Tokens, and Spokespersons: A Case for Credibility Excess as Testimonial Injustice. Hypatia, 31(3), 485-501. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44076488

Dotson, K. (2012). A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 33(1), 24-47. https://doi.org/10.5250/fronjwomestud.33.1.0024

Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237907.001.0001

Fricker, M. (2013). Epistemic Justice as a Condition of Political Freedom? Synthese, 190(7), 1317-1332. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-012-0227-3

Fricker, M. (2016). Epistemic Injustice and the Preservation of Ignorance. In R. Peels and M. Blaauw (Eds.), The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance (pp. 160-177). Cambridge University Press.

Fricker, M. (2017). Evolving Concepts of Epistemic Injustice. In I. J. Kidd, J. Medina and G. Pohlhaus, Jr. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge & CRC Press. https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Epistemic-Injustice/Kidd-Medina-PohlhausJr/p/book/9780367370633

Fricker, M. (2023). Institutionalized Testimonial Injustice. Journal of Dialectics of Nature, 45(7). https://jdn.ucas.ac.cn/english/browse/moreview/id/836#

Fricker, M. and Jenkins, K. (2017). Epistemic Injustice, Ignorance, and Trans Experiences. In A. Garry, S. J. Khader and A. Stone (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy (pp. 268-278). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315758152-23

Gonzales Rose, J. (2021). Race, Evidence, and Epistemic Injustice. In C. Dahlman, A. Stein and G. Tuzet (Eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Evidence Law. Oxford University Press.

Herdy, R. and Castelliano, C. (2023). ¿Existen injusticias hermenéuticas en el derecho?: Una lectura realista de la ininteligibilidad judicial de experiencias marginadas. Revista Brasileira de Direito Processual Penal, 9(1), 101. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=8886377

Jenkins, K. (2017). Rape Myths and Domestic Abuse Myths as Hermeneutical Injustices. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 34(2), 191-205. https://doi.org/10.1111/japp.12174

Kassin, S. M., Dror, I. E. and Kukucka, J. (2013). The Forensic Confirmation Bias: Problems, Perspectives, and Proposed Solutions. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2(1), 42-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2013.01.001

Lackey, J. (2018). Credibility and the Distribution of Epistemic Goods. En K. McCain (Ed.), Believing in Accordance with the Evidence: New Essays on Evidentialism (pp. 145-168). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95993-1_10

Lackey, J. (2020). False Confessions and Testimonial Injustice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 110(1), 43. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/jclc/vol110/iss1/4

Lackey, J. (2022). Eyewitness testimony and epistemic agency. Noûs, 56(3), 696-715. https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12380

Lackey, J. (2023). Criminal Testimonial Injustice. Oxford University Press.

Lin, W., Strube, M. J. and Roediger, H. L. (2019). The Effects of Repeated Lineups and Delay on Eyewitness Identification. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 4(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-019-0168-1

Mason, R. (2011). Two Kinds of Unknowing. Hypatia, 26(2), 294-307. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23016547

Matida, J. and Garcez, R. (2023). O HC n. 712.781/RJ e o aperfeiçoamento epistêmico da prova de reconhecimento. In A. Borges, C. Verano and S. Siciliano. Homenagem ao Ministro Rogerio Schietti – 10 Anos de STJ (pp. 462-474). Migalhas.

McGlynn, A. (2020). Objects or Others? Epistemic Agency and the Primary Harm of Testimonial Injustice. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 23(5), 831-845. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-020-10078-z

Medina, J. (2011). The Relevance of Credibility Excess in a Proportional View of Epistemic Injustice: Differential Epistemic Authority and the Social Imaginary. Social Epistemology, 25(1), 15-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2010.534568

Medina, J. (2012). Hermeneutical Injustice and Polyphonic Contextualism: Social Silences and Shared Hermeneutical Responsibilities. Social Epistemology, 26(2), 201-220. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2011.652214

Medina, J. (2013). The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations. Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-epistemology-of-resistance-9780199929047?cc=cl&lang=en&

Medina, J. (2021). Agential Epistemic Injustice and Collective Epistemic Resistance in the Criminal Justice System. Social Epistemology, 35(2), 185-196. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2020.1839594

Medina, J. and Whitt, M. S. (2021). Epistemic Activism and the Politics of Credibility: Testimonial Injustice Inside/Outside a North Carolina Jail. En Epistemic Activism and the Politics of Credibility: Testimonial Injustice Inside/Outside a North Carolina Jail (pp. 293-324). SUNY Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781438482392-013

Monahan, J., Walker, L. and Mitchell, G. (2009). The Limits of Social Framework Evidence. Law, Probability and Risk, 8(4), 307-321. https://doi.org/10.1093/lpr/mgp020

Omar Jalloh, T. (2022). Does the Critical Scrutiny of Drill Constitute an Epistemic Injustice? The BritishJournal of Aesthetics, 62(4), 633-651. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesthj/ayac041

Owusu-Bempah, A. (2022). The Irrelevance of Rap. Criminal Law Review, 2, 130-151. https://doi.org/10.3316/agispt.20220131061222

Páez, A. and Matida, J. (2023). Editorial of dossier Epistemic Injustice in Criminal Procedure. Revista Brasileira de Direito Processual Penal, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.22197/rbdpp.v9i1.821

Picinali, F. (2024). Evidential Reasoning, Testimonial Injustice and the Fairness of the Criminal Trial. Quaestio Facti. Revista Internacional Sobre Razonamiento Probatorio, 6, 201-235. https://doi.org/10.33115/udg_bib/qf.i6.22888

Pohlhaus, G. (2012). Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance. Hypatia, 27(4), 715-735. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01222.x

Tuerkheimer, D. (2015). Flawed Convictions: «Shaken Baby Syndrome» and the Inertia of Injustice. Oxford University Press.

Tuerkheimer, D. (2017). Incredible Women: Sexual Violence and the Credibility Discount. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 166(1), 1-58. https://www.jstor.org/stable/45154929

Tuerkheimer, D. (2023). Victim, Reconstructed: Sex Crimes Experts and the New Rape Paradigm (SSRN Scholarly Paper 4591233). https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4591233

Twining, W. (Ed.). (2006). The Rationalist Tradition of Evidence Scholarship. In Rethinking Evidence: Exploratory Essays (pp. 35-98). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511617249.004

Cases and legislation

Brazil. Lei nº 13.105, de 16 de março de 2015. Código de Processo Civil. https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2015-2018/2015/lei/l13105.htm

European Convention on Human Rights (1950). https://www.echr.coe.int/documents/d/echr/convention_ENG

Superior Court of Justice of Brazil (2022). Habeas Corpus 790.250/RJ (2022/0392898-1). https://www.conjur.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/desrespeito-regras-cpp-invalida.pdf





Cómo citar

Herdy, R. (2024). Testimonial Injustice in Evidential Reasoning: A Reply to Federico Picinali. Quaestio Facti. Revista Internacional Sobre Razonamiento Probatorio, (7), 153–172. https://doi.org/10.33115/udg_bib/qf.i7.23031