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The silenced and unsought beneficiary: investigating epistemic injustice in the fiduciary

Mussell, Helen ORCID: 2021. The silenced and unsought beneficiary: investigating epistemic injustice in the fiduciary. Business Ethics Quarterly 31 (4) , pp. 549-571. 10.1017/beq.2021.4

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This article uses philosopher Miranda Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice to shed light on the legal concept of the fiduciary, alongside demonstrating the wider contribution Fricker’s work can make to business ethics. Fiduciary, from the Latin fīdūcia, meaning “trust,” plays a fundamental role in all financial and business organisations: it acts as a moral safeguard of the relationship between trustee and beneficiary. The article focuses on the ethics of the fiduciary, but from a unique historical perspective, referring back to the original formulation of the fiduciary within a familial context to investigate presuppositions regarding agential capabilities, whilst also paying attention to the power mechanism embedded in the trustee–beneficiary relationship. Using Fricker’s theory of pre-emptive testimonial injustice, the analysis elucidates the impact of cumulative beneficiary silencing in contemporary contexts, and the article uncovers ethical issues of an epistemological kind at the core of the fiduciary—of epistemic injustice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (
Publisher: Philosophy Documentation Center / Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 1052-150X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 13 January 2021
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 23:11

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