Epistemic Blame and Epistemic Reparations

September 15, 2023 - September 16, 2023
Department of Philosophy, Brandon University

Qaumajuc Museum

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • Buffett Institute for Global Affairs
  • Canadian Journal of Philosophy
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


Northwestern University
University of Johannesburg


Brandon University

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CfA: Epistemic Blame and Epistemic Reparations

September 15-16, 2023

Qaumajuc Museum - Winnipeg, Canada

Confirmed speakers:

Senator Mary Jane McCallum 

Nadya Kwandibens

Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern)

Veli Mitova (Johannesburg)

Brenda Gunn (Manitoba)

Blame is a central part of our interpersonal lives, both morally and epistemically speaking. We sometimes blame individuals and groups, specifically in light of epistemic failings. Epistemic failings can range from an individual’s unjustified belief, to a collective’s efforts at extinguishing knowledge systems through colonialism and racism.

Epistemic blame can thus play an important role in responding to injustices. It can be a way of holding perpetrators of epistemic wrongs to account. But our epistemic blaming practices can also guide us toward more positive measures, such as epistemic reparations— “intentionally reparative actions in the form of epistemic goods given to those epistemically wronged by parties who acknowledge these wrongs and whose reparative actions are intended to redress them” (Lackey 2023, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association). When a collective or individual has been epistemically wronged, when is epistemic blame fitting, and when are epistemic reparations called for? 

Consider how First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada have suffered epistemic disempowerment as a direct result of the Canadian Government’s efforts at assimilation: Indigenous voices are systematically accorded less credibility than privileged counterparts; perceptions of Indigenous identity are systematically distorted as a result of prejudicial stereotyping, and historical acts of assimilation. What is the role for epistemic reparations in this context? What is the role for epistemic blame? This workshop will examine these and broader questions in this emerging area of applied social epistemology. We would like to particularly foreground First Nations, Inuit, and Métis philosophical voices in this project.

This is the second event of a three-year collaboration on Epistemic Wrongs, Blame, and Reparations between Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern University), Cameron Boult (Brandon University), and Veli Mitova (University of Johannesburg). The first event—Epistemic Wrongs and Epistemic Reparations—was held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa. The final event (site TBA) will feature research on future directions for epistemic reparations, some of which will be published in a special issue of Episteme.

Abstract length: max 500 words

Submission deadline: 1 June, 2023

Email to: [email protected]

*Attention graduate students: bursaries of $500 will be offered to all accepted graduate student abstracts*

This workshop is generously supported by: Buffett Institute for Global Affairs, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, U of M Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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September 10, 2023, 9:00am EST

Who is attending?

3 people are attending:

Iona University
Brandon University
and 1 more.

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Jesuit University Ignatianum

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