Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Rima Basu

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I argue that there are (defeasible) in-principle epistemic advantages pre-consciousness raising to being marginalized. That is, by virtue of social location alone, marginalization confers epistemic advantages. According to a standard presentation of standpoint epistemology (Toole 2023), there is an inverse relationship between social situatedness and knowledge. That is, since the marginalized are socially disadvantaged, they have epistemic advantages. As a result, marginalization helps to gain access to these advantages. In this paper I argue for a stronger position. I argue that unique features of the social ontology of marginalized social locations not only cultivate these advantages, but that marginalized social location alone can confer these advantages. My argument evades many of the critical contentions that plague standpoint epistemology such as the ability of non-marginalized to also gain epistemic advantages. The in-principle ­pre-consciousness raised epistemic advantages, I am concerned with do not preclude non-marginalized actors from gaining epistemic advantages. Further, while I consider important implications for deference, ultimately the epistemic advantages I argue for are not primarily concerned with deference. More importantly, they act as signposts to tell us where knowledge generation about marginalization should start, with the marginalized layperson.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.