Unity of the intellectual virtues

Synthese 199 (3-4):9835-9854 (2021)
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The idea that moral virtues form some sort of “unity” has received considerable attention from virtue theorists. In this paper, I argue that the possibility of unity among intellectual virtues has been wrongly overlooked. My approach has two main components. First, I work to distinguish the variety of different views that are available under the description of a unity thesis. I suggest that these views can be categorised depending on whether they are versions of standard unity or of strong unity. Standard unity claims that the possession of one virtue implies possession of all the others. Strong unity claims that the virtues are, in some sense, all the same thing. By exploring what these different versions of unity would look like when applied to intellectual virtues, I aim to provide a menu of options for future work in virtue epistemology. I then develop and defend one of these options in more detail, arguing that the initially less plausible strong unity has merit when applied to the intellectual sphere. In these two ways, I aim to show that the possibility of unity among the intellectual virtues is deserving of serious consideration.



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Alan T. Wilson
University of Bristol

Citations of this work

Intellectual virtue and its role in epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1-20.
Humility's Independence.Derick Hughes - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (5):2395–2415.

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References found in this work

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1986 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.
Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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