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TILT seminar: Prof. Veli Mitova, Akanimo Andrew Akpan, Caitlin Rybko, Abraham Tejiri Tobi

Date: Time: 10:30 Location: Cube Z 222 and Zoom

Epistemic Injustice and Datatech: insights from the Epistemology of the 4th Industrial Revolution Project


This seminar proudly hosts presentations from the Epistemology of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Project, located at  the University of Johannesburg, African Centre for Epistemology of Science (ACEPS) lead by Prof. Veli Mitova. The project investigates all aspects of knowledge-production in a world permeated with digital technologies. Think of how online spaces have become both empowering through reaching out to previously isolated geographical spaces, and disempowering or even dangerous through phenomena such as epistemic bubbles, fake news and deepfakes.

With expertise on subjects like testimony and epistemic exclusions, social epistemologists are particularly well placed to research these fundament transformations of our epistemic lives, and to forge new means of capitalising on the potential of 4IR while redressing its more sinister consequences. This seminar presents a variety of different angles that are being developed by the director of ACEPS and three of ACEPS’ researchers.

We can currently see a surge of interest in the application of core concepts of Epistemic Injustice and Justice to questions on e.g. the governance, fairness and trustworthiness of data driven technologies. Relatedly, researchers in the North, working on ethics and technology are engaging with African philosophies like Ubuntu. Both developments seem to signify a move away from highly individualistically framed, Euro-centric understandings of protecting humans and their dignity from 4IR harms. This seminar supports these engagements and looks to bring people together for a lively discussion around these topics.


Veli Mitova is professor in Philosophy and  the Director of the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, at the University of Johannesburg, as well as the South African team leader for The Geography of Philosophy Project. Veli works at the intersection of epistemology, ethics, and social epistemology. At the moment, her focus is on epistemic injustice, decolonising knowledge, and the ways in which phenomena such as white ignorance should make us rethink central normative-epistemology concepts like epistemic reasons, risk, blame, and responsibility. She is the author of Believable Evidence (CUP 2017), and the editor of Epistemic Decolonisation (2020) and of The Factive Turn in Epistemology (CUP 2018). Before joining the University of Johannesburg in 2015, Veli taught and researched at Universität Wien, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Rhodes University (her alma mater), and Cambridge (where she obtained her PhD).

Akanimo Andrew Akpan works on Decolonisation, African Philosophy, Epistemic Injustice, Power, Algorithmic bias.  Akanimo is a doctoral student at the University of Johannesburg in the Department of Philosophy/ ACEPS. His PhD thesis is on decolonising algorithms. Akanimo obtained his MA in Philosophy (distinction) from UJ as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2018). For his Master’s degree dissertation, Akanimo developed a novel account of how to distribute political power from a characteristically African moral theory. In 2019, he won the Anton Lembede Essay Competition in Philosophy. He seeks ways to bridge the seeming gap between philosophy and the world of work. He consults for various organisations in areas of education, development, governance, and justice transformation.

Caitlin Rybko works on the Epistemology of the Internet, Social Epistemology, Applied Epistemology, Epistemic Injustice. Caitlin is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg in the Department of Philosophy/ ACEPS. She obtained her MA in Philosophy from Rhodes University in 2017. Her PhD is titled: The Epistemology of Google’s Knowledge Panels. She is exploring our epistemic relationship with the internet and how it has changed our access to, and perception of, knowledge.

Abraham Tejiri Tobi works on Social Epistemology, Epistemic Injustice, Decolonisation, Epistemology of the Internet. Abe is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg’s Philosophy Department/ ACEPS. He obtained his BA in Philosophy with distinction from St Joseph’s Theological Institute, his Honours and his MA in Philosophy both with distinction from UJ. He was a recipient of the British Academy Newton Scholarship for his MA studies and UJ’s Global Excellence and Stature Scholarship. His PhD, titled “Knowledge in an Online World”, is funded by the University of Johannesburg’s Commonwealth Scholarship.

Moderator: Aviva de Groot

Attendance is free.

To register for this event please e-mail: tilt-events@tilburguniversity.edu.