About this topic

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.
Related categories

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  1. Virtuous Norms for Visual Arguers.Andrew Aberdein - 2018 - Argumentation 32 (1):1-23.
    This paper proposes that virtue theories of argumentation and theories of visual argumentation can be of mutual assistance. An argument that adoption of a virtue approach provides a basis for rejecting the normative independence of visual argumentation is presented and its premisses analysed. This entails an independently valuable clarification of the contrasting normative presuppositions of the various virtue theories of argumentation. A range of different kinds of visual argument are examined, and it is argued that they may all be successfully (...)
  2. Epistemic vagueness?Fred Ablondi - 2009 - Think 8 (22):47-50.
    The barn/barn façade thought experiment is familiar to most epistemologists. It is intended to present a counterexample to certain causal theories of knowledge; in it, a father driving through the countryside with his son says, ‘That's a barn’ while pointing to a barn. Unbeknownst to the father, however, a film crew is working in the area, and it has constructed several barn façades. While the father did correctly point to a barn when he made his assertion, he could have just (...)
  3. Diversity, Social Inquiries, and Epistemic Virtues.Jonathan E. Adler - 2005 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 50 (4):37-52.
    A teoria das virtudes epistêmicas (VE) sustenta que as virtudes dos agentes, tais como a imparcialidade ou a permeabilidade intelectual, ao invés de crenças específicas, devem estar no centro da avaliação epistêmica, e que os indivíduos que possuem essas virtudes estão mais bem-posicionados epistemicamente do que se não as tivessem, ou, pior ainda, do que se tivessem os vícios correspondentes: o preconceito, o dogmatismo, ou a impermeabilidade intelectual. Eu argumento que a teoria VE padece de um grave defeito, porque fracassa (...)
  4. The Epistemic Virtue of Deference.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), The 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 (...)
  5. Judgment and Agency, by Ernest Sosa.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):196-199.
  6. People Listen to People Who Listen: Instilling Virtues of Deference.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2015 - In Christian Miller (ed.), The Character Project: New Perspectives in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology. Oxford University Press.
    We often fail to defer to sources who know what they’re talking about. When doing so consistently, we fail to manifest a virtue of deference. This is because epistemic virtues are dispositions that promote epistemic goals, and knowledge is an epistemic goal. The present paper makes two points about how to instill this virtue. First, virtues of deference can be instilled by promoting compliance with requests on the part of good sources to be listened to, since listening is conducive to (...)
  7. The Social Virtue of Blind Deference.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):545-582.
    Recently, it has become popular to account for knowledge and other epistemic states in terms of epistemic virtues. The present paper focuses on an epistemic virtue relevant when deferring to others in testimonial contexts. It is argued that, while many virtue epistemologists will accept that epistemic virtue can be exhibited in cases involving epistemically motivated hearers, carefully vetting their testimonial sources for signs of untrustworthiness prior to deferring, anyone who accepts that also has to accept that an agent may exhibit (...)
  8. Procedural Justice and the Problem of Intellectual Deference.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2014 - Episteme 11 (4):423-442.
    It is a well-established fact that we tend to underestimate our susceptibility to cognitive bias on account of overconfidence, and thereby often fail to listen to intellectual advice aimed at reducing such bias. This is the problem of intellectual deference. The present paper considers this problem in contexts where educators attempt to teach students how to avoid bias for purposes of instilling epistemic virtues. It is argued that recent research in social psychology suggests that we can come to terms with (...)
  9. Can People Be Virtuous?Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge.
  10. Epistemic Situationism: An Extended Prolepsis.Mark Alfano - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford University Press.
    This paper is an extended prolepsis in favor of epistemic situationism, the thesis that epistemic virtues are not sufficiently widely distributed for a virtue-theoretic constraint on knowledge to apply without leading to skepticism. It deals with four objections to epistemic situation: 1) that virtuous dispositions are not required for knowledge, 2) that the Big Five or Big Six personality model proves that intellectual virtues are a reasonable ideal, 3) that the cognitive-affective personality system framework proves that intellectual virtues are a (...)
  11. Virtues.Mark Alfano (ed.) - 2016 - The Monist.
    Some virtues, like courage and temperance, have been part of the philosophical tradition since its inception. Others, like filial piety and female chastity, have gone out of style. Still others, like curiosity and aesthetic good taste, are upstarts. What, if anything, can be said in general about this motley collection? Are they all dispositions to respond to reasons? Do they share characteristic components, such as affect, emotion, and trust? Are they organized into a cardinal hierarchy, or is it better to (...)
  12. Becoming Less Unreasonable: A Reply to Sherman.Mark Alfano - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (7):59-62.
  13. Current Controversies in Virtue Theory.Mark Alfano (ed.) - 2015 - Routledge.
    Virtue is among the most venerable concepts in philosophy, and has recently seen a major revival. However, new challenges to conceptions of virtue have also arisen. In _Current Controversies in Virtue Theory_, five pairs of cutting-edge philosophers square off over central topics in virtue theory: the nature of virtue, the connection between virtue and flourishing, the connection between moral and epistemic virtues, the way in which virtues are acquired, and the possibility of attaining virtue. Mark Alfano guides his readers through (...)
  14. What Are the Bearers of Virtues?Mark Alfano - 2014 - In Hagop Sarkissian & Jennifer Wright (eds.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology. Continuum. pp. 73-90.
    It’s natural to assume that the bearers of virtues are individual agents, which would make virtues monadic dispositional properties. I argue instead that the most attractive theory of virtue treats a virtue as a triadic relation among the agent, the social milieu, and the asocial environment. A given person may or may not be disposed to behave in virtuous ways depending on how her social milieu speaks to and of her, what they expect of her, and how they monitor her. (...)
  15. Extending the Situationist Challenge to Reliabilism About Inference.Mark Alfano - 2014 - In Abrol Fairweather & Owen Flanagan (eds.), Virtue Epistemology Naturalized: Bridges between Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Synthese Library. pp. 103-122.
  16. Character as Moral Fiction.Mark Alfano - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Everyone wants to be virtuous, but recent psychological investigations suggest that this may not be possible. Mark Alfano challenges this theory and asks, not whether character is empirically adequate, but what characters human beings could have and develop. Although psychology suggests that most people do not have robust character traits such as courage, honesty and open-mindedness, Alfano argues that we have reason to attribute these virtues to people because such attributions function as self-fulfilling prophecies - children become more studious if (...)
  17. The Most Agreeable of All Vices: Nietzsche as Virtue Epistemologist.Mark Alfano - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):767-790.
    It’s been argued with some justice by commentators from Walter Kaufmann to Thomas Hurka that Nietzsche’s positive ethical position is best understood as a variety of virtue theory – in particular, as a brand of perfectionism. For Nietzsche, value flows from character. Less attention has been paid, however, to the details of the virtues he identifies for himself and his type. This neglect, along with Nietzsche’s frequent irony and non-standard usage, has obscured the fact that almost all the virtues he (...)
  18. Expanding The Situationist Challenge To Responsibilist Virtue Epistemology.Mark Alfano - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):223-249.
    The last few decades have witnessed the birth and growth of both virtue epistemology and the situationist challenge to virtue ethics. It seems only natural that eventually we would see the situationist challenge to virtue epistemology. This article articulates one aspect of that new challenge by spelling out an argument against the responsibilist brand of virtue epistemology. The trouble can be framed as an inconsistent triad: many people know quite a bit; knowledge is true belief acquired and retained through the (...)
  19. Epistemic Situationism.Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.) - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Table of Contents -/- Introduction: Epistemic Situationism by Abrol Fairweather -/- 1. Is Every Epistemology A Virtue Epistemology? by Lauren Olin -/- 2. Epistemic Situationism: An extended prolepsis by Mark Alfano -/- 3. Virtue Epistemology in the Zombie Apocalypse: Hungry Judges, Heavy Clipboards and Grou Polarization by Berit Brogaard -/- 4. Situationism and Responsibilist Virtue Epistemology by James Montmarquet -/- 5. Virtue Theory Against Situationism by Ernest Sosa -/- 6. Intellectual Virtue Now and Again by Chris Lepock -/- 7.Responsibilism Out (...)
  20. Situationism and Virtue Theory.Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather - 2013 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
    Virtues are dispositions to see, think, desire, deliberate, or act well, with different philosophers emphasizing different permutations of these activities. Virtue has been an object of philosophical concern for thousands of years whereas situationism—the psychological theory according to which a great deal of human perception, thought, motivation, deliberation, and behavior are explained not by character or personality dispositions but by seemingly trivial and normatively irrelevant situational influences—was a development of the 20th century. Some philosophers, especially John Doris and Gilbert Harman (...)
  21. Development and Validation of a Multi-Dimensional Measure of Intellectual Humility.Mark Alfano, Kathryn Iurino, Paul Stey, Brian Robinson, Markus Christen, Feng Yu & Daniel Lapsley - 2017 - PLoS ONE 12 (8):e0182950.
    This paper presents five studies on the development and validation of a scale of intellectual humility. This scale captures cognitive, affective, behavioral, and motivational components of the construct that have been identified by various philosophers in their conceptual analyses of intellectual humility. We find that intellectual humility has four core dimensions: Open-mindedness (versus Arrogance), Intellectual Modesty (versus Vanity), Corrigibility (versus Fragility), and Engagement (versus Boredom). These dimensions display adequate self-informant agreement, and adequate convergent, divergent, and discriminant validity. In particular, Open-mindedness (...)
  22. Implications for Virtue Epistemology From Psychological Science: Intelligence as an Interactionist Virtue.Mark Alfano & Gus Skorburg - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), Handbook of Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    This chapter aims to expand the body of empirical literature considered relevant to virtue theory beyond the burned-over districts that are the situationist challenges to virtue ethics and epistemology. We thus raise a rather simple-sounding question: why doesn’t virtue epistemology have an account of intelligence? In the first section, we sketch the history and present state of the person-situation debate to argue for the importance of an interactionist framework in bringing psychological research in general, and intelligence research in particular, to (...)
  23. Extended Knowledge, the Recognition Heuristic, and Epistemic Injustice.Mark Alfano & Gus Skorburg - 2018 - In Duncan Pritchard, Jesper Kallestrup, Orestis Palermos & Adam Carter (eds.), Extended Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
    We argue that the interaction of biased media coverage and widespread employment of the recognition heuristic can produce epistemic injustices. First, we explain the recognition heuristic as studied by Gerd Gigerenzer and colleagues, highlighting how some of its components are largely external to, and outside the control of, the cognitive agent. We then connect the recognition heuristic with recent work on the hypotheses of embedded, extended, and scaffolded cognition, arguing that the recognition heuristic is best understood as an instance of (...)
  24. 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 (...)
  25. Open-Mindedness as a Moral Virtue.Nomy Arpaly - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (1):75.
    Open-mindedness appears to be a cognitive disposition: an open-minded person is disposed to gain, lose, and revise beliefs in a particular, reasonable way. It is also a moral virtue, for we blame, for example, the man who quickly comes to think a new neighbor untrustworthy because he drives the wrong car or wears the wrong clothes—for his closed-mindedness. How open–mindedness could be a moral virtue is a puzzle, though, because exercises of moral virtues are expressions of moral concern, whereas gaining, (...)
  26. Rational Belief: Structure, Grounds, and Intellectual Virtue.Robert Audi - 2015 - Oup Usa.
    This book is a wide-ranging treatment of central topics in epistemology. It provides conceptions of belief and knowledge, offers a theory of how they are grounded in our experience and in the social context of testimony, and connects them with the will and with action, moral responsibility, and intellectual virtue.
  27. Reliability as a Virtue.Robert Audi - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (1):43 - 54.
    This paper explores what constitutes reliability in persons, particularly intellectual reliability. It considers global reliability , the overall reliability of persons, encompassing both the theoretical and practical realms; sectorial reliability , that of a person in a subject-matter (or behavioral) domain; and focal reliability , that of a particular element, such as a belief. The paper compares reliability with predictability of the kind most akin to it and distinguishes reliability as an intellectual virtue from reliability as an intellectual power. The (...)
  28. Means-End Reciprocity and the Aims of Education Debate.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    In the centennial year of John Dewey’s classic, Democracy and Education (1916), this paper revisits his thesis of the reciprocity of means and ends, arguing that it remains of central importance for debate over the aims of education. The paper provides a Dewey-inspired rebuttal of arguments for an ‘ultimate aim,’ but balances this with a development of the strong overlaps between proponents of pragmatism, intellectual virtues education (Jason Baehr) and critical thinking education (Harvey Siegel). Siegel’s ‘Kantian’ justification of critical thinking (...)
  29. 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 (...)
  30. Thinking Twice About Virtue and Vice: Philosophical Situationism and the Vicious Minds Hypothesis.Guy Axtell - 2017 - Logos and Episteme 8 (1):7-39.
    This paper provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Mark Alfano’s challenges to them based on his theses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of cognitive success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between virtue epistemologies qua credit theories, and dual-process theories in cognitive psychology. It also a response to Lauren Olin and John Doris’ “vicious minds” thesis, (...)
  31. Bridging a Fault Line: On Underdetermination and the Ampliative Adequacy of Competing Theories.Guy Axtell - 2014 - In Editor Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Epistemology Naturalized. Synthese Library. pp. 227-245.
    This paper pursues Ernan McMullin‘s claim ("Virtues of a Good Theory" and related papers on theory-choice) that talk of theory virtues exposes a fault-line in philosophy of science separating "very different visions" of scientific theorizing. It argues that connections between theory virtues and virtue epistemology are substantive rather than ornamental, since both address underdetermination problems in science, helping us to understand the objectivity of theory choice and more specifically what I term the ampliative adequacy of scientific theories. The paper argues (...)
  32. Possibility and Permission? Intellectual Character, Inquiry, and the Ethics of Belief.Guy Axtell - 2014 - In Pihlstrom S. & Rydenfelt H. (eds.), William James on Religion. (Palgrave McMillan “Philosophers in Depth” Series.
    This chapter examines the modifications William James made to his account of the ethics of belief from his early ‘subjective method’ to his later heightened concerns with personal doxastic responsibility and with an empirically-driven comparative research program he termed a ‘science of religions’. There are clearly tensions in James’ writings on the ethics of belief both across his career and even within Varieties itself, tensions which some critics think spoil his defense of what he calls religious ‘faith ventures’ or ‘overbeliefs’. (...)
  33. Achieving Knowledge: A Virtue‐Theoretic Account of Epistemic Normativity. By John Greco.Guy Axtell - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):208-211.
  34. Achieving Knowledge: A Virtue-Theoretic Account of Epistemic Normativity. By John Greco. (Cambridge UP, 2010. Pp. X + 205. Price £17.99/US$29.99.). [REVIEW]Guy Axtell - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):208-211.
    A Review of John Greco's book Acheiving Knowledge. The critical points I make involve three claims Greco makes that represent common ground between the reliabilists (including agent reliabilists like himself) and the character epistemologists (which would include myself): I. Such virtues are often needed to make our cognitive abilities reliable (to turn mere faculties into excellences); II. Such virtues might be essentially involved in goods other than knowledge; III. Such virtues might be valuable in themselves.
  35. Reflective Knowledge: Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge – Ernest Sosa.Guy Axtell - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):203-205.
    A review of Ernest Sosa’s book Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge. While I think Sosa is quite right that knowledge lies on a spectrum, and that its higher but not its lower reaches require of knowers, when challenged, a strong degree of explanatory coherence (ability to understand and discursively defend the basis of their beliefs), I also point out problems with certain aspects of his account.
  36. From Internalist Evidentialism to Virtue Responsibilism.Guy Axtell - 2011 - In T. Dougherty & Trent Dougherty (eds.), Evidentialism and its Discontents. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 71-87.
    Evidentialism as Earl Conee and Richard Feldman present it is a philosophy with distinct aspects or sides: Evidentialism as a conceptual analysis of epistemic justification, and as a prescriptive ethics of belief. I argue that Conee and Feldman's ethics of belief has 'weak roots and sour fruits.' It has weak roots because it is premised on their account of justification qua synchronic rationality, and I undercut this account. It has sour fruits because the austere evidentialist ethic of belief is unable (...)
  37. From Internalist Evidentialism to Virtue Responsibilism: Reasonable Disagreement and the Ethics of Belief.Guy Axtell - 2011 - In Trent Dougherty (ed.), Evidentialism and its Discontents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Evidentialism as its leading proponents describe it has two distinct senses, these being evidentialism as a conceptual analysis of epistemic justification, and as a prescriptive ethics of belief—an account of what one ‘ought to believe’ under different epistemic circumstances. These two senses of evidentialism are related, but in the work of leading evidentialist philosophers, in ways that I think are deeply problematic. Although focusing on Richard Feldman’s ethics of belief, this chapter is critical of evidentialism in both senses. However, I (...)
  38. Recovering Responsibility.Guy Axtell - 2011 - Logos and Episteme (3):429-454..
    This paper defends the epistemological importance of ‘diachronic’ or cross-temporal evaluation of epistemic agents against an interesting dilemma posed for this view in Trent Dougherty’s recent paper “Reducing Responsibility.” This is primarily a debate between evidentialists and character epistemologists, and key issues of contention that the paper treats include the divergent functions of synchronic and diachronic (longitudinal) evaluations of agents and their beliefs, the nature and sources of epistemic normativity, and the advantages versus the costs of the evidentialists’ reductionism about (...)
  39. Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad.Guy Axtell - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):73-94.
    Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the "generality problem" for virtue epistemologies and the "global trait problem" for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. I suggest a way to put the generality problem to work by making full and explicit use of a sliding scale--a "narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription"-- and by accounting for the various uses (...)
  40. Book Reviews:Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology. [REVIEW]Guy Axtell - 2009 - Ethics 119 (2):377-382.
    This book is a major contribution to a growing literature in character-based or responsibilist epistemology. One point I criticize is the author's claim that intellectual virtues must be “indexed to world views” (318) which is line-drawing maneuver that would remove religious beliefs deemed basic in a given tradition from rational criticism. Still, the overall effect of the authors’ regulative epistemology is nevertheless to put religious believers and secularists, and again Christian and non-Christian faith traditions, on a far better path towards (...)
  41. Review of Stephen Napier, Virtue Epistemology: Motivation and Knowledge[REVIEW]Guy Axtell - 2009 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (7).
    A Review of S. Napiers, book Virtue Epistemology. While concerned with the nature of knowledge, Napier also wants to claim that a key implication of responsibilist VE is “a shift away from analyzing epistemic concepts (knowledge, etc.) in terms of other epistemic concepts (e.g. justification) to analyzing epistemic concepts with reference to kinds of human activity…much of analytic epistemology centers on epistemic concepts, whereas the responsibilist focuses on epistemic activity” (144).Of the main points he claims responsibilism provides us with—(i) rentention (...)
  42. Expanding Epistemology: A Responsibilist Approach.Guy Axtell - 2008 - Philosophical Papers 37 (1):51-87.
    The first part of this paper asks why we need, or what would motivate, ameaningful expansion of epistemology. It answers with three critical arguments found in the recent literature, which each purport to move us some distance beyond the preoccupations of ‘post-Gettier era’ analytic epistemology. These three—the ‘epistemic luck,’ ‘epistemic value’ and ‘epistemic reconciliation’ arguments associated with D. Pritchard, J. Kvanvig, and M. Williams, respectively—each carry this implication of needed expansion by functioning as forceful ‘internal critiques’ of the tradition. The (...)
  43. Two for the Show: Anti-Luck and Virtue Epistemologies in Consonance.Guy Axtell - 2007 - Synthese 158 (3):363 - 383.
    This essay extends my side of a discussion begun earlier with Duncan Pritchard, the recent author of Epistemic Luck.Pritchard’s work contributes significantly to improving the “diagnostic appeal” of a neo-Moorean philosophical response to radical scepticism. While agreeing with Pritchard in many respects, the paper questions the need for his concession to the sceptic that the neo-Moorean is capable at best of recovering “‘brute’ externalist knowledge”. The paper discusses and directly responds to a dilemma that Pritchard poses for virtue epistemologies (VE). (...)
  44. Blind Man's Bluff: Examining the Basic Belief Apologetic.Guy Axtell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):131--152.
    Today we find philosophical naturalists and Christian theists both expressing an interest in virtue epistemology, while starting out from vastly different assumptions. What can be done to increase fruitful dialogue among these divergent groups of virtue-theoretic thinkers? The primary aim of this paper is to uncover more substantial common ground for dialogue by wielding a double-edged critique of certain assumptions shared by `scientific' and `theistic' externalisms, assumptions that undermine proper attention to epistemic agency and responsibility. I employ a responsibilist virtue (...)
  45. Review of Lynn Holt, Apprehension: Reason in the Absence of Rules[REVIEW]Guy Axtell - 2003 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (9).
  46. Felix Culpa: Luck in Ethics and Epistemology.Guy Axtell - 2003 - Metaphilosophy 34 (3):331--352.
    Luck threatens in similar ways our conceptions of both moral and epistemic evaluation. This essay examines the problem of luck as a metaphilosophical problem spanning the division between subfields in philosophy. I first explore the analogies between ethical and epistemic luck by comparing influential attempts to expunge luck from our conceptions of agency in these two subfields. I then focus upon Duncan Pritchard's challenge to the motivations underlying virtue epistemology, based specifically on its handling of the problem of epistemic luck. (...)
  47. Epistemic Luck in Light of the Virtues.Guy Axtell - 2001 - In Abrol Fairweather & Linda Zagzebski (eds.), Virtue Epistemology: Essays on Epistemic Virtue and Responsibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 158--177.
    The presence of luck in our cognitive as in our moral lives shows that the quality of our intellectual character may not be entirely up to us as individuals, and that our motivation and even our ability to desire the truth, like our moral goodness, can be fragile. This paper uses epistemologists'responses to the problem of “epistemic luck” as a sounding board and locates the source of some of their deepest disagreements in divergent, value-charged “interests in explanation,” which epistemologists bring (...)
  48. Knowledge, Belief, and Character: Readings in Virtue Epistemology.Guy Axtell (ed.) - 2000 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    This is a unique collection of new and recently-published articles which debate the merits of virtue-theoretic approaches to the core epistemological issues of knowledge and justified belief. The readings all contribute to our understanding of the relative importance, for a theory of justified belief, of the reliability of our cognitive faculties and of the individuals responsibility in gathering and weighing evidence. Highlights of the readings include direct exchanges between leading exponents of this approach and their critics.
  49. The Role of the Intellectual Virtues in the Reunification of Epistemology.Guy Axtell - 1998 - The Monist 81 (3):488-508.
  50. "Recent Work in Virtue Epistemology".Guy Axtell - 1997 - American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (1):1--27.
    This article traces a growing interest among epistemologists in the intellectuals of epistemic virtues. These are cognitive dispositions exercised in the formation of beliefs. Attempts to give intellectual virtues a central normative and/or explanatory role in epistemology occur together with renewed interest in the ethics/epistemology analogy, and in the role of intellectual virtue in Aristotle's epistemology. The central distinction drawn here is between two opposed forms of virtue epistemology, virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. The article develops the shared and distinctive (...)
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