The Virtue of Dialogue

  • Lauren Swayne Barthold


If one major driver of the polarization that shuts down discourse is constructing negative stories around and privileging distinct rather than shared social identities, then we need to take a closer look at the social and epistemic power dynamics at play in such discourse. We need to scrutinize the social and epistemic factors that lead to the silencing of groups marginalized specifically due to their social identities. This chapter begins by considering Miranda Fricker’s claim that epistemic injustice is a central vice that implicitly functions to silence marginalized groups, as well as her claim that the way to counter this vice is through the epistemic virtues of testimonial and hermeneutic justice. Drawing on critiques of Fricker’s work (like those by Elizabeth Anderson) as well as Gadamer’s account of openness, I defend openness as a key virtue for promoting discursive equality, one that applies to the individual but that has repercussions for attenuating structural inequalities. I end the chapter appealing to Dewey’s account of democracy to demonstrate the central role civic dialogue can play in cultivating the civic habits and virtues necessary for fostering a more just democracy.


Epistemic injustice Hermeneutic injustice Epistemic virtue Open-mindedness Openness Elizabeth Anderson John Dewey Civic dialogue Civic virtue Intellectual humility Democracy Social identities 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren Swayne Barthold
    • 1
  1. 1.Liberal ArtsEndicott CollegeBeverlyUSA

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