Barrierefreiheit is a key term in the German inclusion movement, in education and more generally. Sometimes translated as ‘accessibility’, it refers not just to absence of barriers but to freedom from barriers, which in turn indicates a significant social and ethical component. It signals an active, conscious intervention by agents, a consequence of agentic commitment towards crossing borders and overcoming boundaries. In this regard, this article seeks to provide an epistemological analysis and illustration of what ‘inclusive’, ‘barrier-free’ education means, by examining three ideas within social epistemology: epistemological access, epistemic paternalism and epistemic justice. In so doing, it articulates a position that might be called ‘context-sensitive realism’, which cautions against not only constructivist theoretical leanings but also the anti-individualism that characterises a substantial portion of the inclusive education literature.