Epistemic Virtues in Business

Journal of Business Ethics 113 (4):583-595 (2013)
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This paper applies emerging research on epistemic virtues to business ethics. Inspired by recent work on epistemic virtues in philosophy, I develop a view in which epistemic virtues contribute to the acquisition of knowledge that is instrumentally valuable in the realisation of particular ends, business ends in particular. I propose a conception of inquiry according to which epistemic actions involve investigation, belief adoption and justification, and relate this to the traditional ‘justified true belief’ analysis of knowledge. I defend the view that epistemic virtues enable and/or motivate people to perform epistemic actions. An examination of the key epistemic virtues of love of knowledge, epistemic courage, temperance, justice, generosity and humility provides some initial evidence suggesting that the way epistemic virtues enable or motivate is by countering a number of biases that have been uncovered by behavioural economics, and also indicates ways in which the instrumental epistemic value view is superior to other approaches to epistemic virtue offered in the literature



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Boudewijn de Bruin
University of Groningen