Research Article

Powerlessness and Social Interpretation

Miranda Fricker


Our understanding of social experiences is central to our social understanding more generally. But this sphere of epistemic practice can be structurally prejudiced by unequal relations of power, so that some groups suffer a distinctive kind of epistemic injustice—hermeneutical injustice. I aim to achieve a clear conception of this epistemicethical phenomenon, so that we have a workable definition and a proper understanding of the wrong that it inflicts.

Miranda Fricker is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy and published articles in epistemology, ethics, and feminist philosophy. Her book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.