Virtue Epistemology and the Epistemology of Virtue

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):23-43 (2000)
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Abstract

The ancient Greeks almost universally accepted the thesis that virtues are skills. Skills have an underlying intellectual structure (logos), and having a particular skill entails understanding the relevant logos. possessing a general ability to diagnose and solve problems (phronesis). as well as having appropriate experience. Two implications of accepting this thesis for moral epistemology and epistemology in general are considered. Thinking of virtues as skills yields a viable virtue epistemology in which moral knowledge is a species of a general kind of knowledge that is not philosophically suspect. Also, the debate between internalists and externalists in epistemology is subversively resolved as moot by adopting this strategy: the locus of justification for a belief is in the nature of skill. Thus, the contingent fact that some skills allow Homo Sapiens an ‘internal access’. while others do not, is theoretically neutral when considering the nature of justification per se.

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Paul Bloomfield
University of Connecticut