Persons that asylum states mandate with assessment of claims to refugee status face confounding ethical problems in their work. Regardless of the rigor and care with which they seek guidance from international refugee law, domestic immigration policies, and what material evidence may disclose, it is rare for those assessing the claims to ultimately have more than the perceived credibility of the claimants from which to generate their decisions. Consequently, critics complain that states’ processes of refugee assessment are fundamentally subjective and involve almost arbitrary application of refugee identity as opposed to its discovery, often resulting in further harm to legitimate claimants whose status is denied. However, in light of philosopher Miranda Fricker’s analyses of epistemic injustice, this paper aims to consider the extent to which the assessment of claims to refugee status may still be conducted with epistemic virtue. This paper tests Fricker’s arguments regarding the possibility of maintaining an ethically sound approach to epistemic judgment in the reception of testimony where harm on the basis of mistaken judgment is still possible. Moreover, to the extent that Fricker’s argument is successful, this paper reflects on the positive impact that such attention to epistemic virtue may have on reform of assessment processes in place.
|Keywords:||Epistemic Virtue, Refugee Status, Epistemic Injustice, Ethics, Credibility, Assessment|
Associate Professor, Centre for Global Studies, Huron University College, London, Ontario, Canada
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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