Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gabbrielle Johnson

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This thesis examines the potential problems posed by transformational experiences for being a qualified representative. Representational roles would be any role in which someone is tasked with speaking on behalf of others and representing their interests. First, I argue that Transformational experiences pose a potential problem because they create an epistemic barrier to understanding the experiences of others. Understanding the experiences of others is vital to being able to adopt their perspectives and interests. Then I will argue that imaginative scaffolding provides a means for a skilled imaginer to overcome the epistemic gap created by transformative experience in understanding the experiences of others. Then I will argue that knowing the entire scope of someone’s transformational experiences is not relevant for providing effective representation. Rather, a representative needs to understand only the perspectives and experiences that are relevant to the specific issue at hand. I will ultimately conclude that although transformative experiences present a potential challenge for people in representative roles, this can be overcome if the representative is aware that the epistemic gap exists and puts in the necessary time and effort into understanding the experiences of the people they are representing.