Vicious minds: Virtue epistemology, cognition, and skepticism

Philosophical Studies 168 (3):665-692 (2014)
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Abstract

While there is now considerable anxiety about whether the psychological theory presupposed by virtue ethics is empirically sustainable, analogous issues have received little attention in the virtue epistemology literature. This paper argues that virtue epistemology encounters challenges reminiscent of those recently encountered by virtue ethics: just as seemingly trivial variation in context provokes unsettling variation in patterns of moral behavior, trivial variation in context elicits unsettling variation in patterns of cognitive functioning. Insofar as reliability is a condition on epistemic virtue, we have reason to doubt that human beings possess the cognitive materials required for epistemic virtue, and thereby reason to think that virtue epistemology is threatened by skepticism. We conclude that while virtue epistemology has resources for addressing this challenge, exploiting these resources forces tradeoffs between empirical and normative adequacy

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Author Profiles

Lauren Olin
University of Missouri, St. Louis
John M. Doris
Washington University in St. Louis

Citations of this work

Virtue Epistemology.John Turri, Mark Alfano & John Greco - 1999 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-51.
Openmindedness and truth.J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):207-224.
Epistemic situationism and cognitive ability.John Turri - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 158-167.

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What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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