Epistemic injustice in psychiatry

Paul Crichton, Havi Carel, Ian James Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)
805 Downloads (Pure)


Epistemic injustice is a harm done to a person in their capacity as an epistemic subject (a knower, a reasoner, a questioner) by undermining her capacity to engage in epistemic practices such as giving knowledge to others (testifying) or making sense of one’s experiences (interpreting). It has been argued that those who suffer from medical conditions are more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than the healthy. This paper claims that people with mental disorders are even more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than those with somatic illnesses. Two kinds of contributory factors for epistemic injustice in psychiatric patients are outlined: global and specific. Some suggestions are made to counteract the effects of these contributory factors, for instance we suggest that physicians should participate in groups where the subjective experience of patients is explored, and learn to become more aware of their own unconscious prejudices towards psychiatric patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Early online date25 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Humanities Health and Science


  • epistemic injustice
  • mental disorder
  • philosophy of medicine
  • psychiatry


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