Theology and Philosophy

Simone Weil Lecture 2009

Knowledge and Prejudice by Miranda Fricker

Melbourne: Wednesday 21 August

Sydney: Tuesday 8 August

Lecture abstract

The Simone Weil Lectures on Human Value - 2009

When someone speaks but is not heard because of their accent, or their sex, or the colour of their skin, they suffer a distinctive form of injusticethey are undermined as a knower. This kind of injustice, which I call testimonial injustice, is not only an ethical problem but also a political one; for citizens are not free unless they get a fair hearing when they try to contest wrongful treatment. I shall argue that not only individuals but also public institutions need to have the virtue of testimonial justice. If our police, our juries and our complaints panels lack that virtue, then some groups cannot contest. And if you cant do that, you do not have political freedom.

About the speaker

Miranda Fricker is Reader in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. She did her DPhil at the University of Oxford (1996), moving to the University of London to take up a Jacobsen Research Fellowship and then a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her book, Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (OUP, 2007), explores how relations of social power and identity impinge in our epistemic practices to produce distinctively epistemic forms of injusticeinjustices in which someone is undermined specifically in their capacity as a knower.

Miranda Fricker co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy with Jennifer Hornsby (2000); and she is co-author of Reading Ethics , written with Sam Guttenplan, a textbook of commentaries on selected readings in moral philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).

Her main areas of interest are ethics, social epistemology, virtue epistemology, and those areas of feminist philosophy that focus on issues of power, social identity, and epistemic authority. She is a regular discussant on radio programmes in the UK such as BBC Radio4s In Our Time, and there are podcasts of interviews with her about her book, and about ethical relativism, downloadable from and iTunes, or via her web page.

To visit Miranda Fricker's webpage please click here.

Listen to an interview with Miranda Fricker by Alan Saunders by visiting the Philosopher's Zone webpage.