Testimonial injustice occurs when others fail to treat you seriously as a source of knowledge. In this interview Miranda Fricker, author of a recent book on the topic, explains this concept which lies at the intersection between epistemology and political philosophy.
Epistemology and Ethics have traditionally been kept apart. This book brings them together. Miranda Fricker focuses on two kinds of epistemic injustice: the injustice that occurs when someone is not treated seriously as a possible source of knowledge (testimonial injustice) and the injustice that occurs when a society lacks a conceptual framework for understanding the experiences of someone who has been treated badly (hermeneutic injustice). An example of the first kind is when someone stopped by the police is not believed because he is black; an example of the second type is when someone is a victim of sexual harrassment in a society that still lacks that concept. Both are kinds of epistemic injustice in Fricker’s terms. That is they are harms that an individual suffers that relate to that individual’s potential to give knowledge and to be a subject of social understanding.