Reflections on dealing with epistemically vicious students [Reflexiones sobre lidiar con estudiantes con vicios epistémicos]

Tuomas W. Manninen
Arizona State University
As a philosophy instructor, I strive to get my students to think critically about the subject matter. However, over the years I have encountered many students who seem to deliberately want to avoid thinking critically. I am talking particularly about some students in my “Science and Religion” course, who subscribe to scientific creationism and endorse anti–scientific beliefs which seem to be irrational. In this essay, I will offer reflections of my experiences from these classes, and argue that individuals who subscribe to creationism exhibit a combination of epistemic vices that makes them prone to holding incorrect views. Employing Quassim Cassam’s framework on the epistemic vices of conspiracy theorists in his “Vice Epistemology”, I argue that the creationists’ beliefs can best be understood as resulting from similar vices. Subsequently, I move to consider the reasons why these students subscribe to creationism, using Katherine Dormandy’s analysis in her “Does Epistemic Humility Threaten Religious Beliefs?” as a springboard. Following Dormandy, I explore how epistemic vices lead to someone holding false —even irrational— beliefs. Finally, I will consider strategies in dealing with vice–charging the epistemically vicious students in a way that avoids the practical difficulties noted by Ian James Kidd in his “Charging Others with Epistemic Vice”.
Keywords virtue epistemology  vice epistemology  science denialism  creationism
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References found in this work BETA

Charging Others With Epistemic Vice.Ian James Kidd - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):181-197.
Foiling the Black Knight.Kelly C. Smith - 2011 - Synthese 178 (2):219-235.
The Creationists.Ronald L. Numbers - 1993 - Journal of the History of Biology 26 (2):375-378.

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