Epistemic Injustice, Reasons and Agency, the SWIP UK Annual Conference

Venue: University of Kent, 1st-2nd May 2019

Keynote speaker: Alessandra Tanesini (Cardiff University)


This conference is the second event of a collaborative project on ‘Epistemic Injustice, Reasons and Agency’ led by Veli Mitova (University of Johannesburg) and Lubomira Radoilska (University of Kent) and supported by a British Academy Advanced Newton Fellowship Award (2018-2020). The focus will be on the role of reasons in epistemic injustice.

The conference will include a number of sessions for submitted papers. Selection will be based on double-anonymous review of abstracts (max. 500 words). If you would like to contribute, please submit your abstract, anonymised, to Lubomira Radoilska (L.V.Radoilska@kent.ac.uk) by 25 January 2019. Abstracts should be suitable for a 30-40 minute presentation.


How should we understand epistemic injustice? Many theorists concerned with this question employ the framework of virtue epistemology to answer it. We suggest that we would gain much from thinking about it, in addition, through the lens of the relationship between epistemic reasons and agency.

To see how this might work, consider the following example. Suppose that Lindiwe complains to Joe that he isn’t supportive enough in her career. Suppose further that she is both correct and justified in thinking as she does, but that Joe shrugs her off by saying that she only believes this because she (like all girls) is overly emotional and sensitive. Most of us would agree on two things: that Joe’s explanation of Lindiwe’s belief is unjust; and that such injustice is the bread and butter of sexist, racist, and other X-ist discourse.

We can describe the injustice in three ways, revealing the intuitive connections amongst epistemic injustice, reasons, and agency. First, it is an epistemic injustice in virtue of demeaning Lindiwe in her capacity as knower: Joe’s explanation represents her as not being in a position to know that Joe is unsupportive. Second, it does so by putting her outside the space of reasons: it is because the belief is seen as not based on any reasons that she isn’t in a position to know. And third, this amounts to disempowering Lindiwe by denying her epistemic agency, that is, denying her responsibility for, and rational authority over, her belief.

Further details about the project are available at: https://epistemic-injustice-reasons-agency.weebly.com/


We aim to make this conference as accessible as possible, in line with the SWIP/BPA guidance for accessible conferences.

Please feel free to contact Lubomira Radoilska at L.V.Radoilska@kent.ac.uk if you have any questions or require further information about the event.


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