Epistemic injustice in careers: insights from a study with women surgeons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter draws on findings of a qualitative interview-based study with women surgeons. I present analyzed data from the study, which illustrates epistemic dysfunction and credibility deficits experienced by women surgeons in their interactions with patients. 1 A key question of the chapter is whether these experiences are appropriately classified as epistemic injustices. I will argue that while only some of the findings fit Miranda Fricker’s theory of epistemic injustice, recent work by Gaile Pohlhaus Jr. on different varieties of epistemic injustice and by Katherine Hawley and Alexis Shotwell on epistemic injustices associated with knowledge-how better characterize the epistemic harms women surgeons experience. Theories of epistemic injustice have potential to illuminate a variety of real-world situations in which significant consequences can result from, for example, misjudging the credibility of a knower. One such context is the workplace. Bias in the workplace has received considerable attention from those keen to analyze its causes and potential solutions. Pressure is mounting to explain and address material differences in remuneration (the “gender pay gap”) and to address the underrepresentation of marginalized groups in careers, especially careers that are well paid or involve the exercise of political power. Even within our own discipline of philosophy there has been considerable concern about the underrepresentation and low status of women and racial minorities (for example, see Haslanger 2008; Calhoun 2009; Dotson
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOvercoming epistemic injustice
Subtitle of host publicationsocial and psychological perspectives
EditorsBenjamin R. Sherman, Stacey Goguen
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRowman & Littlefield International
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781786607072
ISBN (Print)9781786607065, 9781786607058
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameCollective studies in knowledge and society
PublisherRowman & Littlefield


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