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Ubuntu as a complementary perspective for addressing epistemic (in)justice in medical machine learning
  1. Brandon Ferlito,
  2. Michiel De Proost
  1. Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Brandon Ferlito, Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; brandon.ferlito{at}

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Pozzi1 has thoroughly analysed testimonial injustices in the automated Prediction Drug Monitoring Programmes (PDMPs) case. Although Pozzi1 suggests that ‘the shift from an interpersonal to a structural dimension … bears a significant moral component’, her topical investigation does not further conceptualise the type of collective knowledge practices necessary to achieve epistemic justice. As Pozzi1 concludes: ‘this paper shows the limitations of systems such as automated PDMPs, it does not provide possible solutions’. In this commentary, we propose that an Ubuntu perspective—which, so far, has received little attention in connection with epistemic injustice in medical machine learning (MML)—can fill this gap. This perspective can be used to mitigate some of the harmful effects of epistemic injustices by encouraging community involvement and forward-looking responsibility.

It may be instructive to note first and foremost that the debate on epistemic justice and artificial intelligence in medicine has mostly been restricted to the Western World, that is, Europe and North America. There has been very little insight or accommodation of insights from the Global South. Ubuntu is a concept originating from Southern Africa that focuses on the close connections and mutual …

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  • Contributors BF and MDP contributed equally to the conceptualisation and writing of the commentary.

  • Funding This study was supported by H2020 European Research Council (949841).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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