The Platonic conception of intellectual virtues: its significance for virtue epistemology

Synthese:1-16 (forthcoming)

Alkis Kotsonis
University of Edinburgh
Several contemporary virtue scholars trace the origin of the concept of intellectual virtues back to Aristotle. In contrast, my aim in this paper is to highlight the strong indications showing that Plato had already conceived of and had begun developing the concept of intellectual virtues in his discussion of the ideal city-state in the Republic. I argue that the Platonic conception of rational desires satisfies the motivational component of intellectual virtues while his dialectical method satisfies the success component. In addition, I show that Plato considers episteme as the primary intellectual virtue. Episteme, which is quite similar to Pritchard’s The nature and value of knowledge: three investigations, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010) conception of understanding, is a cognitive achievement that cannot be attained by luck or testimony. The realization that Plato was the first to conceive of and develop the concept of intellectual excellences is not merely of historic significance. I illustrate, through the example of Zagzebski’s virtue theory, how the Platonic conception of intellectual virtues could prove promising in contemporary debates on virtue epistemology theories.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02189-7
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``Knowledge as Credit for True Belief".John Greco - 2003 - In Michael DePaul & Linda Zagzebski (eds.), Intellectual Virtue: Perspectives From Ethics and Epistemology. Clarendon Press. pp. 111-134.
Virtue Epistemology.John Turri, Mark Alfano & John Greco - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-51.

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