1984 & Language | Philosophy Tube | Summary and Q&A

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March 31, 2017
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Philosophy Tube
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1984 & Language | Philosophy Tube

TL;DR

This video delves into the concept of epistemic injustice and how language can be used to control and exclude knowledge, contrasting it with the misconceptions about George Orwell's 1984.

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Key Insights

  • 🎮 Newspeak in 1984 involves removing words to control thoughts, while the video's exploration of hidden ideas behind words seeks to empower individuals by expanding concepts.
  • 🎱 Epistemic injustice encompasses testimonial injustice, which denies individuals the ability to add knowledge to the collective pool, and hermeneutical injustice, which excludes certain knowledge from the pool.
  • 👯 Testimonial injustice can have harmful consequences, such as wrongful convictions, while hermeneutical injustice can deprive people of the understanding and vocabulary to address their experiences.

Transcript

I want to address a common criticism that this show gets sometimes on the channel I talk about the hidden assumptions behind ideas like race or law or justice or democracy and when that happens I inevitably get a tiny number of commenters saying you're trying to redefine the meaning of words you're altering the language it's just like what happened... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Newspeak in 1984 differ from the exploration of hidden ideas behind words in the video?

Newspeak in 1984 aims to limit thoughts and preserve power by removing words from the language, while the video's exploration of hidden ideas in words seeks to expand concepts and empower individuals by adding new things to the knowledge pool.

Q: What is testimonial injustice and how does it affect individuals like Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Testimonial injustice occurs when people are not believed and their knowledge is excluded. Tom Robinson, a character in To Kill a Mockingbird, is a victim of testimonial injustice as the jury, due to prejudice, rejects his testimony of innocence despite ample evidence.

Q: How does hermeneutical injustice manifest in society?

Hermeneutical injustice occurs when access or understanding of certain knowledge is intentionally kept from a group of people. An example is the absence of language and legal recognition for sexual harassment, which prevented victims from expressing their experiences until the term was coined publicly.

Q: How does the video connect epistemic injustice and language with power dynamics?

The video highlights that while Newspeak in 1984 aims to preserve power by limiting thoughts, exploring hidden ideas behind words serves to challenge power dynamics by expanding concepts and giving people the resources they need to confront and liberate themselves.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video discusses the misinterpretation of 1984's Newspeak as changing the definition of words, explaining that it actually involves removing words from the language to limit thoughts and control people.

  • Epistemic injustice is introduced as the wrong done by denying someone the ability to add or borrow knowledge from the collective pool, with testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice as its two forms.

  • Testimonial injustice occurs when people are prevented from adding knowledge to the pool, while hermeneutical injustice occurs when access to certain knowledge is denied or obscured, exemplified by sexual harassment.

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