Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (5):797-813 (2020)

Federica Liveriero
Universita' degli Studi di Pavia
Democratic legitimacy is often grounded in proceduralist terms, referring to the ideal of political equality that should be mirrored by fair procedures of decision-making. The paper argues that the normative commitments embedded in a non-minimalist account of procedural legitimacy are well expressed by the ideal of co-authorship. Against this background, the main goal of the paper is to argue that structural forms of epistemic injustice are detrimental to the overall legitimacy of democratic systems. In §2 I analyse Young’s notion of political powerlessness and claim that in structurally unjust social contexts members of powerless groups often are not properly acknowledged as functioning members of the polity, hence being jeopardized in their ability to develop part of their personal identity. In §III, I define gerrymandering as an example of political disempowerment that involves an epistemic harm for oppressed citizens, namely, to be prejudicially excluded from the community of epistemic trust. My thesis is that being epistemically disempowered has a negative impact on the way in which citizens understand themselves as political actors, since they suffer a lack of social recognition that may impede a proper development of their reflexive agency. In §IV, I discuss the proposal of granting epistemic privilege to members of oppressed groups, given their specific experience of social injustices. I introduce two concerns about this proposal, one morally grounded and one pragmatically oriented. Finally, in §V, I briefly sketch some institutional remedies that can be employed in order to politically fight systemic forms of epistemic injustice.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-020-10097-w
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,410
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

View all 55 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Critique of Hermeneutical Injustice.Laura Beeby - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):479-486.
The Epistemic Value of Partisanship.Ivan Cerovac - 2019 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):99-117.
Opressões epistêmicas.Breno Ricardo Guimarães Santos - 2018 - In José Leonardo Annunziato Ruivo (ed.), Proceedings of the Brazilian Research Group in Epistemology. Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil: pp. 201-226.
Resisting Structural Epistemic Injustice.Michael Doan - 2018 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 4 (4).
Epistemic Injustice: A Role for Recognition?Paul Giladi - 2018 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 44 (2):141-158.
Pathocentric Epistemic Injustice and Conceptions of Health.Ian James Kidd & Havi Carel - forthcoming - In Benjamin Sherman & Stacey Goguen (eds.), Overcoming Epistemic Injustice: Social and Psychological Perspectives. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 00-00.


Added to PP index

Total views
31 ( #370,958 of 2,519,873 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #100,685 of 2,519,873 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes