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Summary

Every variant of virtue epistemology holds to two basic resolutions: (1) that epistemology is a normative discipline and (2) that “intellectual agents and communities are the primary source of epistemic value and the primary focus of epistemic evaluation” (Greco and Turri, 2011). The former amounts to a rejection of Quine's proposal in “Epistemology Naturalized” (1969) that epistemologists should give up on attempts to discern what is reasonable to believe in favor of projects within cognitive psychology and a call for epistemologists to “focus their efforts on understanding epistemic norms, value and evaluation”. To better understand the second resolution think of virtue ethics. For the two titans of moral philosophy, Kantian deontology and utilitarianism, the starting place for moral evaluation is action. For Kantians and for utilitarians, the question to ask when doing ethics is “What should I do?”  For virtue ethicists, the starting place for moral evaluation is the agent—his or her character—and subsequently the virtue ethicist asks a different question, “How should I live?”.  Instead of focusing on the beliefs of agents (whether or not they are justified, safe, etc.), virtue epistemologists predominantly focus on the agent f—on whether he or she has the right sort of epistemic character, the right sort of cognitive faculties, whether he or she is epistemically virtuous or not. Other theories of knowledge will give some account of epistemic virtues—good memory, intellectual courage, etc.—but usually in terms of knowledge; the radical claim that virtue epistemology makes is that knowledge is defined in terms of virtue.

Key works

A virtue-theoretic approach to epistemology was first suggested in Sosa 1980. Since then, virtue epistemology has developed by and large into two schools:  agent-reliabilism and responsibilism or neo-Aristotelianism.The primary difference between the schools is their application of “virtue” terminology. Agent-reliabilism, being modeled along reliabilist lines, focuses on the reliable functioning (virtuous functioning) of a given agent’s cognitive faculties. A few seminal agent-reliabilist works include Plantinga 1993, Sosa 2007, and Greco 2010. Neo-Aristotelianism, on the other hand, applies virtue terminology in a way we are perhaps more familiar with—in terms of specific character traits such as open-mindedness, intellectual courage, intellectual perseverance, etc. A few seminal Neo-Aristotelian works include Code 1987, Montmarquet 1993, and Zagzebski 1996.

Introductions Encyclopedia articles include Turri et al 2011 and Baehr 2004.
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732 found
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  1. Thinking Twice About Virtue and Vice.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    [FREE PUBLISHED VERSION AT LINK BELOW]. This chapter provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Alfano’s the-ses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. It also develops a Nar-row-Broad Spectrum of agency-ascriptions in reply to Olin and Doris’ ‘trade-off problem.’ In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between VE and dual-process theories (DPT) in cognitive psychology. A genuine (...)
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  2. Believing in Love: Intellectual Humility and Well-Being.Reuben L. Lillie - manuscript
    In this project, I claim that intellectual humility requires love. Recent discussions within epistemology consider intellectual humility as a virtue, but many leave room for vice—even violence. I argue that any view of intellectual humility must also account for love. Otherwise, at best, one is flirting with another virtue, say, intellectual temperance or intellectual diligence. I conclude that, to count as genuine humility, one must hold and express one’s beliefs in love. -/- Funding for this project is provided by Olivet (...)
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  3. The False Promises of Logic Textbooks - How Logic Has a Much More Limited Role Than People Usually Think.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    Logic textbooks advertise that they can teach how to spot a valid argument by its logical form alone. They also boast having collections with the most basic valid argumentative forms people of flesh and blood can use in deductive matters. Think about this for a moment. These are bold statements. If they were accurate, philosophers would be in higher demand than software engineers and no one would be able to make contributions to theoretical physics without ever taking a logic class. (...)
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  4. Evidence and Virtue (and Beyond) [Long Version, Draft].Kurt Sylvan - manuscript
  5. The Epistemic Virtue of Deference.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    To the consequentialist, virtues are dispositions producing beneficial consequences. After outlining a consequentialist theory of epistemic virtue, I offer an account of an epistemic virtue of deference, manifested to the extent that we are disposed to defer to, and only to, people who speak the truth. I then look at what informed sources can do to instill such virtues of deference, in light of social-psychological evidence on compliance. It turns out that one way of doing so is through a complementary (...)
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  6. Nietzsche's Virtues: Curiosity, Courage, Pathos of Distance, Sense of Humor, and Solitude.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Felix Timmermann (ed.), Handbook of Virtue and Virtue Ethics. Springer.
  7. Can People Be Virtuous?Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge.
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  8. Negative Epistemic Exemplars.Mark Alfano & Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - In Benjamin Sherman & Stacey Goguen (eds.), Overcoming Epistemic Injustice: Social and Psychological Perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield.
    In this chapter, we address the roles that exemplars might play in a comprehensive response to epistemic injustice. Fricker defines epistemic injustices as harms people suffer specifically in their capacity as (potential) knowers. We focus on testimonial epistemic injustice, which occurs when someone’s assertoric speech acts are systematically met with either too little or too much credence by a biased audience. Fricker recommends a virtue­theoretic response: people who do not suffer from biases should try to maintain their disposition towards naive (...)
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  9. Humility in Networks.Mark Alfano & Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - In Alessandra Tanesini, Michael Lynch & Mark Alfano (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility. Routledge.
    What do humility, intellectual humility, and open-mindedness mean in the context of inter-group conflict? We spend most of our time with ingroup members, such as family, friends, and colleagues. Yet our biggest disagreements —— about practical, moral, and epistemic matters —— are likely to be with those who do not belong to our ingroup. An attitude of humility towards the former might be difficult to integrate with a corresponding attitude of humility towards the latter, leading to smug tribalism that masquerades (...)
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  10. Educating for Intellectual Virtues: Applying Virtue Epistemology to Educational Theory and Practice.Jason Baehr (ed.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  11. Handbook of Virtue Epistemology.Heather Battaly (ed.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  12. Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology.Heather Battaly (ed.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  13. Gettier and Externalism.Rodrigo Borges - forthcoming - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), The Gettier Problem.
  14. The (Virtue) Epistemology of Political Ignorance.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    One typical aim of responsibilist virtue epistemology is to employ the notion of intellectual virtue in pursuit of an ameliorative epistemology. This paper focuses on “political inquiry” as a case study for examining the ameliorative value of intellectual virtue. My main claim is that the case of political inquiry threatens to expose responsibilist virtue epistemology in a general way as focusing too narrowly on the role of individual intellectual character traits in attempting to improve our epistemic practices.
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  15. Towards a Eudaimonistic Virtue Epistemology.Berit Brogaard - forthcoming - In Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Naturalizing Virtue Epistemology. Synthese Library.
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  16. Sosa Versus Kornblith on Grades of Knowledge.J. Adam Carter & Robin McKenna - forthcoming - Synthese.
    In a series of works Ernest Sosa (see Sosa 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) has defended the view that there are two kinds or ‘grades’ of knowledge, animal and reflective. One of the most persistent critics of Sosa’s attempts to bifurcate knowledge is Hilary Kornblith (see Kornblith 2004, 2009, 2012). Our aim in this paper is to outline and evaluate Kornblith’s criticisms. We will argue that, while they raise a range of difficult (exegetical and substantive) questions about Sosa’s (...)
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  17. Virtue Epistemology and the Analysis of Knowledge.Ian M. Church - forthcoming - New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
    This book centers on two trends in contemporary epistemology: (i) the dissatisfaction with the reductive analysis of knowledge and (ii) the popularity of virtue-theoretic epistemologies. The goal is to endorse non-reductive virtue epistemology. Given that prominent renditions of virtue epistemology assume the reductive model, however, such a move is not straightforward—work needs to be done to elucidate what is wrong with the reductive model, in general, and why reductive accounts of virtue epistemology, specifically, are lacking. The first part of the (...)
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  18. Naturalizing Virtue Epistemology.Abrol Fairweather (ed.) - forthcoming - Synthese Library.
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  19. "Epistemic Dexterity: A Ramseyian Account of Agent Based Knowledge".Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor - forthcoming - In Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue.
    “Epistemic Dexterity: A Ramseyian Account of Epistemic Virtue” by Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor: A modification of F.P. Ramsey’s success semantics supports a naturalized theory of epistemic virtue that includes motivational components and can potentially explain both epistemic reliability and responsibility with a single normative-explanatory principle. An “epistemic Ramsey success” will also provide a better account of the “because of” condition central to virtue-reliabilist accounts of knowledge from Greco, Sosa and Pritchard. Ramsey said that the truth condition of a belief (...)
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  20. Epistemic Competence and Agency in Sosa and Xunzi.Chris Fraser - forthcoming - In Sosa and Chinese thought.
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  21. Toward Intellectually Virtuous Discourse: Two Vicious Fallacies and the Virtues That Inhibit Them.Robert K. Garcia & Nathan L. King - forthcoming - In Jason Baehr (ed.), Intellectual Virtues and Education: Essays in Applied Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    We have witnessed the athleticization of political discourse, whereby debate is treated like an athletic contest in which the aim is to vanquish one's opponents. When political discourse becomes a zero-sum game, it is characterized by suspicions, accusations, belief polarization, and ideological entrenchment. Unfortunately, athleticization is ailing the classroom as well, making it difficult for educators to prepare students to make valuable contributions to healthy civic discourse. Such preparation requires an educational environment that fosters the intellectual virtues that characterize an (...)
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  22. Virtue Epistemology and Explanatory Salience.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    Robust virtue epistemology holds that knowledge is true belief obtained through cognitive ability. In this essay I explain that robust virtue epistemology faces a dilemma, and the viability of the theory depends on an adequate understanding of the ‘through’ relation. Greco interprets this ‘through’ relation as one of causal explanation; the success is through the agent’s abilities iff the abilities play a sufficiently salient role in a causal explanation of why she possesses a true belief. In this paper I argue (...)
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  23. Is Epistemic Competence a Skill?David Horst - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Many virtue epistemologists conceive of epistemic competence on the model of skill —such as archery, playing baseball, or chess. In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake: epistemic competences and skills are crucially and relevantly different kinds of capacities. This, I suggest, undermines the popular attempt to understand epistemic normativity as a mere special case of the sort of normativity familiar from skilful action. In fact, as I argue further, epistemic competences resemble virtues rather than skills—a claim that (...)
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  24. From Vice Epistemology to Critical Character Epistemology.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    I sketch out a specific form of vice epistemology that I call critical character epistemology.
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  25. Epistemic Courage and the Harms of Epistemic Life.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), The Routledge Handbook to Virtue Epistemology. New York: Routledge. pp. 244-255.
    Since subjection to harm is an intrinsic feature of our social and epistemic lives, there is a perpetual need for individual and collective agents with the virtue of epistemic courage. In this chapter, I survey some of the main issues germane to this virtue, such as the nature of courage and of harm, the range of epistemic activities that can manifest courage, and the status of epistemic courage as a collective and as a professional virtue.
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  26. Humility, Contingency, and Pluralism in the Sciences.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Mark Alfano, Michael Lynch & Alessandra Tanesini (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility. New York: Routledge. pp. 346-358.
    A chapter exploring the relations between humility and the sciences.
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  27. Epistemic Corruption and Social Oppression.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Ian James Kidd, Quassim Cassam & Heather Battaly (eds.), Vice Epistemology. London: Routledge.
    I offer a working analysis of the concept of 'epistemic corruption', then explain how it can help us to understand the relations between epistemic vices and social oppression, and use this to motivate a style of vice epistemology, inspired by the work of Robin Dillon, that I call critical character epistemology.
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  28. Epistemic Corruption and Political Institutions.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Political Epistemology. pp. 357-358.
    Institutions play an indispensable role in our political and epistemic lives. This Chapter explores sympathetically the claim that political institutions can be bearers of epistemic vices. I start by describing one form of collectivism - the claim that the vices of institutions do not reduce to the vices of their members. I then describe the phenomenon of epistemic corruption and the various processes that can corrupt the epistemic ethoi of political institutions. The discussion focuses on some recent work by Miranda (...)
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  29. Epistemic Vices and Feminist Philosophies of Science.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Kristen Intemann & Sharon Crasnow (eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Feminist Philosophy of Science. New York: Routledge. pp. 00-00.
    I survey some points of contact between contemporary vice epistemology and feminist philosophy of science.
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  30. Pathocentric Epistemic Injustice and Conceptions of Health.Ian James Kidd & Havi Carel - forthcoming - In Benjamin Sherman & Stacey Goguen (eds.), Overcoming Epistemic Injustice: Social and Psychological Perspectives. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 00-00.
    In this paper, we argue that certain theoretical conceptions of health, particularly those described as ‘biomedical’ or ‘naturalistic’, are viciously epistemically unjust. Drawing on some recent work in vice epistemology, we identity three ways that abstract objects (such as theoretical conceptions, doctrines, or stances) can be legitimately described as epistemically vicious. If this is right, then robust reform of individuals, social systems, and institutions would not be enough to secure epistemic justice: we must reform the deeper conceptions of health that (...)
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  31. Vice Epistemology.Ian James Kidd, Quassim Cassam & Heather Battaly (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  32. Introduction: From Epistemic Vices to Vice Epistemology.Ian James Kidd, Quassim Cassam & Heather Battaly - forthcoming - In Ian James Kidd, Quassim Cassam & Heather Battaly (eds.), Vice Epistemology. London: Routledge.
    We provide an overview of contemporary vice epistemology, the history of philosophical study of epistemic vices, and the chapters in the volume.
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  33. Debunking, Epistemic Achievement, and Undermining Defeat.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Several anti-debunkers have argued that evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs fail to meet a necessary condition on undermining defeat called modal security. They conclude that evolution, therefore, does not debunk our moral beliefs. This article shows that modal security is false if knowledge is virtuous achievement. New information can undermine a given belief without giving one reason to doubt that that belief is sensitive or safe. This leads to a novel conception of undermining defeat, and it shows that successful (...)
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  34. The Social Dimension of Open-Mindedness.Jack M. C. Kwong - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    This paper explores how open-mindedness and its exercise can be social in nature. In particular, it argues that an individual can be regarded as open-minded even though she does not conduct all of the intellectual tasks as required by open-mindedness by herself; that is, she delegates some of these tasks to her epistemic peers. Thinking about open-mindedness in such social terms not only opens up the possibility that there are different and surprising ways for an individual to be open-minded, but (...)
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  35. The Truth in Gnosticism.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - Análisis. Revista de Investigación Filosófica.
    The paper discusses some challenges to veritism, the view that the fundamental epistemic good is knowledge. It looks like the best way to meet these challenges might be to appeal to some of Sosa's ideas about the value of achievements, but I argue that the performance normativity framework only gives us part of what we want. What we need is a more radical break with the veritist approach. We need to embrace gnosticism, the view that knowledge is the fundamental epistemic (...)
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  36. Professor.Michael Lynch - forthcoming - In Voicing Dissent. New York: Routledge.
    In this essay, I examine four different reasons for thinking that political dissent has epistemic value. The realization of this epistemic value hinges in part on what I’ll loosely call the epistemic environment, or the environment in which individuals come to believe, reason, inquire, and debate. In particular, to the degree that our social practices encourage and even embody an attitude of epistemic arrogance, the epistemic value of dissent will be difficult to realize. Ironically, it is precisely then that dissent (...)
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  37. Jonathan Dancy and Ernest Sosa (Eds), A Companion to Epistemology.K. Magill - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  38. Testimony, Faith and Humility.Finlay Malcolm - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    It is sometimes claimed that faith is a virtue. To what extent faith is a virtue depends on what faith is. One construal of faith, which has been popular in both recent and historical work on faith, is that faith is a matter of taking oneself to have been spoken to by God and of trusting this purported divine testimony. In this paper, I argue that when faith is understood in this way, for faith to be virtuous then it must (...)
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  39. The Perception of Virtue.Jennifer J. Matey - forthcoming - In Berit Brogaard & D. Gratzia (eds.), The Epistemology of Non-visual Perception. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    In this paper, I put forward an argument for the view that emotional responses of esteem to perceived demonstrations of good character represent the perceived character traits as valuable, and hence, as virtues. These esteeming experiences are analogous to perceptual representations in other modalities in their epistemic role as causing, providing content for and justifying beliefs regarding the value of the traits they represent. I also discuss the role that the perceiver’s own character plays in their ability to recognize and (...)
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  40. The Virtue of Epistemic Autonomy.Jonathan Matheson - forthcoming - In Jonathan Matheson & Kirk Lougheed (eds.), Epistemic Autonomy. Routledge.
    In this chapter I develop and motivate and account of epistemic autonomy as an intellectual character virtue. In Section one, I clarify the concept of an intellectual virtue and character intellectual virtues in particular. In Section two, I clear away some misconceptions about epistemic autonomy to better focus on our target. In Section three, I examine and evaluate several extant accounts of the virtue of epistemic autonomy, noting problems with each. In Section four, I provide my positive account of the (...)
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  41. Epistemic Autonomy.Jonathan Matheson & Kirk Lougheed (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
    This is the first book dedicated to the topic of epistemic autonomy. It features original essays from leading scholars that promise to significantly shape future debates in this emerging area of epistemology. -/- While the nature of and value of autonomy has long been discussed in ethics and social and political philosophy, it remains an underexplored area of epistemology. The essays in this collection take up several interesting questions and approaches related to epistemic autonomy. Topics include the nature of epistemic (...)
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  42. Persuasion and Intellectual Autonomy.Robin McKenna - forthcoming - In Kirk Lougheed & Jonathan Matheson (eds.), Epistemic Autonomy. Routledge.
    In her paper “Democracy, Public Policy, and Lay Assessments of Scientific Testimony” Elizabeth Anderson (2011) identifies a tension between the requirements of responsible public policy making and democratic legitimacy. The tension, put briefly, is that responsible public policy making should be based on the best available scientific research, but for it to be democratically legitimate there must also be broad public acceptance of whatever policies are put in place. In this chapter I discuss this tension, with a strong focus on (...)
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  43. Knowledge is Extrinsically Apt Belief. Virtue-Epistemology and the Temporal Objection.Anne Meylan - forthcoming - In Chris Kelp & John Greco (eds.), Virtue Epistemology. Cambridge, Royaume-Uni:
    According to Sosa’s virtue epistemological account, an instance of (animal) knowledge is a belief that instantiates the property of being apt. The purpose of this contribution is, first, to show why this claim is, without further clarification, problematic. Briefly, an instance of knowledge cannot be identified to an apt belief because beliefs are states and aptness is a property that only actions —and no states— can exemplify. Second, I present the metaphysical amendment that the tenants of virtue epistemology can adopt (...)
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  44. Competent Perspectives and the New Evil Demon Problem.Lisa Miracchi - forthcoming - In Julien Dutant (ed.), The New Evil Demon: New Essays on Knowledge, Justification and Rationality. Oxford University PRess.
    I extend my direct virtue epistemology to explain how a knowledge-first framework can account for two kinds of positive epistemic standing, one tracked by externalists, who claim that the virtuous duplicate lacks justification, the other tracked by internalists, who claim that the virtuous duplicate has justification, and moreover that such justification is not enjoyed by the vicious duplicate. It also explains what these kinds of epistemic standing have to do with each other. I argue that all justified beliefs are good (...)
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  45. Between Vulnerability and Resilience: A Contextualist Picture of Protective Epistemic Character Traits.Alice Monypenny - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy of Education.
    In this paper, I argue that focusing on resilience education fails to appropriately reflect the socio-political nature of character. I define protective epistemic character traits (PECTs) as epistemic character traits which aid students in avoiding, limiting or mitigating harm in the classroom. I argue that the relationship between epistemic character and protection in hostile classrooms is importantly influenced by context in two main ways: (1) the exercise and development of some PECTs may carry significant cost for some students and (2) (...)
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  46. Trust as an Unquestioning Attitude.C. Thi Nguyen - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Epistemology.
    Most theories of trust presume that trust is a conscious attitude that can be directed only at other agents. I sketch a different form of trust: the unquestioning attitude. What it is to trust, in this sense, is not simply to rely on something, but to rely on it unquestioningly. It is to rely on a resource while suspending deliberation over its reliability. To trust, then, is to set up open pipelines between yourself and parts of the external world — (...)
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  47. Humility in Personality and Positive Psychology.Peter Samuelson & Ian M. Church - forthcoming - In Mark Alfano, Michael Lynch & Alessandra Tanesini (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility. New York, USA: Routledge.
    A case could be made that the practice of philosophy demands a certain humility, or at least intellectual humility, requiring such traits as inquisitiveness, openness to new ideas, and a shared interest in pursuing truth. In the positive psychology movement, the study of both humility and intellectual humility has been grounded in the methods and approach of personality psychology, specifically the examination of these virtues as traits. Consistent with this approach, the chapter begins with a discussion of the examination of (...)
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  48. A Kantian Virtue Epistemology: Rational Capacities and Transcendental Arguments.Karl Schafer - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    In this paper, I’ll sketch an approach to epistemology that draws its inspiration from two aspects of Kant’s philosophical project. In particular, I want to explore how we might develop a Kantian conception of rationality that combines a virtue-theoretical perspective on the nature of rationality with a role for transcendental arguments in defining the demands this conception of rationality places upon us as thinkers. In discussing these connections, I’ll proceed as follows. First, I’ll describe the sorts of epistemological questions I’ll (...)
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  49. Responsibilism Within Reason.Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In Christoph Kelp & John Greco (eds.), Virtue-Theoretic Epistemology: New Methods and Approaches. Cambridge, UK:
    According to ambitious responsibilism (AR), the virtues that are constitutive of epistemic responsibility should play a central and fundamental role in traditional projects like the analysis of justification and knowledge. While AR enjoyed a shining moment in the mid-1990s, it has fallen on hard times. Part of the reason is that many epistemologists—including fellow responsibilists—think it paints an unreasonably demanding picture of knowledge and justification. I agree that such worries undermine AR's existing versions. But I think the curtains have been (...)
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  50. Review of John Greco, Achieving Knowledge. [REVIEW]John Turri - forthcoming - Mind.
    A review of "Achieving Knowledge" by John Greco.
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