Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Cassie Striblen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven James, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Dan Forbes, Ph. D.


In this thesis I bring the philosophies of Hannah Arendt and Miranda Fricker into conversation. Specifically, I argue that through Fricker’s concept of epistemic injustice (EI) we are able to see more clearly the importance of testimony—lexis as an aspect of Action for Arendt—in Arendt’s socio-political framework. Arendt divides the world into the Private, Social, and Public as separate realms of human activity (Labor, Work, and Action respectively); it is in the Public where we are able to appear and express our plurality. According to Arendt this is the only space where equality must be ensured. However, in using EI to analyze Arendt’s comments regarding the school desegregation and Black Student movements, I demonstrate that Arendt commits EI against these civil rights movements. This critique justifies my neo-Arendtian reformation that acknowledges the interrelation of the Private, Social, and Public; this distinction may not be so distinct after all. What this restructuring of these realms means is that equality ought to be ensured in all areas of human activity, not just the Public. This is the way to assuage the harms of EI that best avoids the pitfalls of a more individualist solution to the harm. Moreover, I discuss the reification of this solution in a novel ontological category: testimonial objects. These are the products, or crystallizations, of Action in the form of objects that convey testimonial knowledge.