Against Intellectual Autonomy: Social Animals Need Social Virtues

Social Epistemology 38 (3):350-363 (2024)
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We are constantly called upon to evaluate the evidential weight of testimony, and to balance its deliverances against our own independent thinking. ‘Intellectual autonomy’ is the virtue that is supposed to be displayed by those who engage in cognition in this domain well. I argue that this is at best a misleading label for the virtue, because virtuous cognition in this domain consists in thinking with others, and intelligently responding to testimony. I argue that the existing label supports an excessively individualistic conception of good thinking, both within and outside philosophy. I propose replacing ‘intellectual autonomy’ with ‘intellectual interdependence’, which properly emphasises the depth of our reliance on one another, without suggesting we ought ever to be epistemically servile.



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Neil Levy
University of Oxford

Citations of this work

Disagreeing with Experts.Manuel Almagro Holgado & Neftalí Villanueva Fernández - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (3):402-423.

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