Vice epistemology, as Quassim Cassam understands it, is the study of the nature, identity, and significance of the epistemic vices. But what makes an intellectual vice a vice? Cassam calls his own view “Obstructivism” – intellectual vices are those traits, thinking styles, or attitudes that systematically obstruct the acquisition, retention, and transmission of knowledge.
I shall argue that Cassam’s account is an improvement upon virtue-reliabilism, and that it fares better against what I call Montmarquet’s objection than its immediate rivals. Nevertheless, I contend that it does not go far enough — Montmarquet’s objection stands.
I conclude that either the objection needs to be answered in some other way, or else proponents of Obstructivism need to explain why their account of the nature of the intellectual vices does not have the counterintuitive consequences it appears to have. Alternatively, another account of the nature of the intellectual vices needs to be sought.