This chapter aims to expand the body of empirical literature considered relevant to virtue theory beyond the burned-over districts that are the situationist challenges to virtue ethics and epistemology. We thus raise a rather simple-sounding question: why doesn’t virtueepistemology have an account of intelligence? In the first section, we sketch the history and present state of the person-situation debate to argue for the importance of an interactionist framework in bringing psychological research in general, and (...) intelligence research in particular, to bear on questions of virtue. In Section 2, we discuss the history and present state of intelligence research to argue for its relevance to virtueepistemology. In Section 3, we argue that intelligence sits uneasily in both responsibilist and reliabilist virtue frameworks, which suggests that a new approach to virtueepistemology is needed. We conclude by placing intelligence within a new interactionist framework. (shrink)
Robust VirtueEpistemology maintains that knowledge is achieved just when an agent gets to the truth through, or because of, the manifestation of intellectual virtue or ability. A notorious objection to the view is that the satisfaction of the virtue condition will be insufficient to ensure the safety of the target belief; that is, RVE is no anti-luck epistemology. Some of the most promising recent attempts to get around this problem are considered and shown to (...) ultimately fail. Finally, a new proposal for defending RVE as a kind of anti-luck epistemology is defended. The view developed here turns importantly on the idea that knowledge depends on ability and luck in a way that is gradient, not rigid, and that we know just when our cognitive success depends on ability not rather, but more so, than luck. (shrink)
In a number of recent papers Duncan Pritchard argues that virtueepistemology's central ability condition—one knows that p if and only if one has attained cognitive success (true belief) because of the exercise of intellectual ability—is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. This paper discusses and dismisses a number of responses to Pritchard's objections and develops a new way of defending virtueepistemology against them.
VirtueEpistemology is a new movement receiving the bulk of recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
Standard characterizations of virtueepistemology divide the field into two camps: virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. Virtue reliabilists think of intellectual virtues as reliable cognitive faculties or abilities, while virtue responsibilists conceive of them as good intellectual character traits. I argue that responsibilist character virtues sometimes satisfy the conditions of a reliabilist conception of intellectual virtue, and that consequently virtue reliabilists, and reliabilists in general, must pay closer attention to matters of intellectual (...) character. This leads to several new questions and (...) challenges for any reliabilist epistemology. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to test the claim that epistemologists—virtue epistemologists in particular—have much to learn from virtue ethics. The essay begins with an outline of virtue ethics itself. This section concludes that a pure form of virtue ethics is likely to be unattractive, so the virtue epistemologist should examine the "impure" views of real philosophers. Aristotle is usually held up as the paradigm virtue ethicist. His doctrine of the mean is described, (...) and it is explained how that doctrine can provide a framework for an account of epistemic virtue. The conclusion of the essay is that a virtueepistemology based on analogies with virtue ethics, though well worth developing and considering, will face several challenges in fulfilling the significant promises that have been made on its behalf. (shrink)
The recent movement towards virtue–theoretic treatments of epistemological concepts can be understood in terms of the desire to eliminate epistemic luck. Significantly, however, it is argued that the two main varieties of virtueepistemology are responding to different types of epistemic luck. In particular, whilst proponents of reliabilism–based virtue theories have been focusing on the problem of what I call “veritic” epistemic luck, non–reliabilism–based virtue theories have instead been concerned with a very different type of (...) epistemic luck, what I call “reflective” epistemic luck. It is argued that, prima facie at least, both forms of epistemic luck need to be responded to by any adequate epistemological theory. The problem, however, is that one can best eliminate veritic epistemic luck by adducing a so–called safety–based epistemological theory that need not be allied to a virtue–based account, and there is no fully adequate way of eliminating reflective epistemic luck. I thus conclude that this raises a fundamental difficulty for virtue–based epistemological theories, on either construal. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]. (shrink)
VirtueEpistemology is a new movement receiving much recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
The Duhem-Quine Thesis is the claim that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation because any empirical test requires assuming the truth of one or more auxiliary hypotheses. This is taken by many philosophers, and is assumed here, to support the further thesis that theory choice is underdetermined by empirical evidence. This inquiry is focused strictly on the axiological commitments engendered in solutions to underdetermination, specifically those of Pierre Duhem and W. V. Quine. Duhem resolves underdetermination by (...) appealing to a cluster of virtues called 'good sense', and it has recently been argued by Stump (Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sei, 18(1):149-159,2007) that good sense is a form of virtueepistemology. This paper considers whether Quine, who's philosophy is heavily influenced by the very thesis that led Duhem to the virtues, is also led to a virtueepistemology in the face of underdetermination. Various sources of Quinian epistemic normativity are considered, and it is argued that, in conjunction with other normative commitments, Quine's sectarian solution to underdetermination amounts to a skills based virtueepistemology. The paper also sketches formal features of the novel form of virtueepistemology common to Duhem and Quine that challenges the adequacy of epistemic value truth-monism and blocks any imperialist naturalization of virtueepistemology, as the epistemic virtues are essential to the success of the sciences themselves. (shrink)
We offer an alternative to two influential accounts of virtueepistemology: Robust VirtueEpistemology (RVE) and Anti-Luck VirtueEpistemology (ALVE). We argue that while traditional RVE does offer an explanation of the distinctive value of knowledge, it is unable to effectively deal with cases of epistemic luck; and while ALVE does effectively deal with cases of epistemic luck, it lacks RVE’s resources to account for the distinctive value of knowledge. The account we provide, however, (...) is both robustly virtue-theoretic and anti-luck, having the respective benefits of both rival accounts without their respective shortcomings. We describe this view here. (shrink)
Duhem’s concept of “good sense” is central to his philosophy of science, given that it is what allows scientist to decide between competing theories. Scientists must use good sense and have intellectual and moral virtues in order to be neutral arbiters of scientific theories, especially when choosing between empirically adequate theories. I discuss the parallels in Duhem’s views to those of virtue epistemologists, who understand justified belief as that arrived at by a cognitive agent with intellectual and moral virtues, (...) showing how consideration of Duhem as a virtue epistemologist offers insights into his views, as well as providing possible answers to some puzzles about virtueepistemology. The extent to which Duhem holds that the intellectual and moral virtues of the scientist determine scientific knowledge has not been generally noticed. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophical virtue theorists have begun to restore the sense of an intimacy between virtue, character, and ‘the good life’, and, in turn, philosophers of education explore the ways that educational practice could contribute to the cultivation of virtuous character. Certainly many philosophers and educationalists will agree with Ben Kotzee that it is ‘obvious’ that education ought to ‘form good intellectual character’ (2013: p.163). I am sympathetic to this claim, but also sensitive to the worries of those (...) sceptics who ask about the practical, pedagogical, and philosophical issues it raises.. My purpose in this chapter is to contribute to the revival of aretaic conceptions of education, but in a way sensitive to those sceptics’ concerns. Specifically, I offer an account of the specific virtue of intellectual humility, then show its integral role in a range of familiar educational practices and concerns, and finally describe how certain entrenched educational attitudes and conceptions marginalise or militate against the cultivation and exercise of this virtue. (shrink)
What is the nature of knowledge? A popular answer to that long-standing question comes from robust virtueepistemology, whose key idea is that knowing is just a matter of succeeding cognitively—i.e., coming to believe a proposition truly—due to an exercise of cognitive ability. Versions of robust virtueepistemology further developing and systematizing this idea offer different accounts of the relation that must hold between an agent’s cognitive success and the exercise of her cognitive abilities as well (...) as of the very nature of those abilities. This paper aims to give a new robust virtue epistemological account of knowledge based on a different understanding of the nature and structure of the kind of abilities that give rise to knowledge. (shrink)
Abstract Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ?thick? evaluative concepts? There are inveterate traditions in analytic epistemology which, having legitimized a certain way of viewing the nature and scope of epistemology's subject matter, give this question a negative verdict; further, they have carried with them a tacit commitment to (...) what we argue to be an epistemic analogue of the reductionistic centralist thesis that Bernard Williams in our view successfully challenged in ethics. In this essay, we challenge these traditional dogmas and in doing so align ourselves with what has been recently called the ?Value Turn? in epistemology. From this perspective, we defend that, contrary to tradition, epistemology does need thick evaluative concepts. Further, the sort of theories that will be able to give thick evaluative concepts a deservedly central role in both belief and agent evaluation are those non-centralist projects that fall within what we call the second-wave of virtueepistemology. We recognize that, in breaking from centralism, there is a worry that a resulting anti-centralist theory will be reductionistic in the other direction- making the thick primary. We contend however that second-wave virtue epistemologies should be thought to provide the wave of the right thickness, and as such, constitute the most promising approaches within a field that has become increasingly more normative, diverse and expansive than was the traditional set of problems from which it emerged. (shrink)
One approach to understanding moral virtues is to compare them with practical skills, since both involve learning how to act well. This paper inquires whether this approach can be extended to intellectual virtues. The relevance of the analogy between virtues and skills for virtueepistemology can be seen in two prominent discussions of intellectual virtues and skills. Linda Zagzebski has argued that intellectual virtues can be modeled on moral virtues, and that a key component of virtue being (...) understood as a “success” term is that virtues are associated with skills. However, she explicitly rejects the stronger claim that virtues can be understood as skills. Julia Annas defends the idea that virtues are skills, and she uses this conception of virtue to argue that Zagzebski’s project fails because of a key difference between the two types of virtue. This paper argues that a skill model of virtue can support modeling intellectual virtues on ethical virtues, contrary to the claims made by Zagzebski and Annas. There are a variety of misconceptions about skills that have led to errors in both of their discussions. The Dreyfus account of skill acquisition and current psychological research on expertise will help to correct these errors. (shrink)
Rousseau’s moral and political philosophy is grounded in a largely overlooked virtueepistemology. This essay reconstructs this epistemology with a particular focus on Rousseau’s conception of how our capacity for sensation might be cultivated to develop the judgment and wisdom that distinguish the developed virtuous agent. It proceeds in three sections. The first section focuses on Rousseau’s conception of the first stage of development, and especially his sensationist claim that all knowledge originates in sensory impressions. The second (...) section examines the maturing agent’s transition from mere sensation to the cultivation of the capacity for judgment, particularly focusing on Rousseau’s account of the agent’s shift from the passive reception of sensory impressions of discrete objects to the active and synthetic processes of comparison and association that give rise to complex ideas and to moral conceptions. The third section turns to Rousseau’s conception of the developed mind, focusing on his claim that the intellectual virtues not only require cultivation but are indispensible to the proper exercise of freedom that distinguishes the fully moral human being. (shrink)
The recent literature on ad hominem argument contends that the speaker’s character is sometimes relevant to evaluating what she says. This effort to redeem ad hominems requires an analysis of character that explains why and how character is relevant. I argue that virtueepistemology supplies this analysis. Three sorts of ad hominems that attack the speaker’s intellectual character are legitimate. They attack a speaker’s: (1) possession of reliabilist vices; or (2) possession of responsibilist vices; or (3) failure to (...) perform intellectually virtuous acts. Legitimate ad hominems conclude that we should not believe what a speaker says solely on her say-so. (shrink)
I argue that Duncan Pritchard’s anti-luck virtueepistemology is insufficient for knowledge. I show that Pritchard fails to achieve the aim that motivates his adoption of a virtue-theoretic condition in the first place: to guarantee the appropriate direction of fit that known beliefs have. Finally, I examine whether other virtue-theoretic accounts are able to explain what I call the direction of fit problem.
This paper explores how a certain theory of knowledge—known as anti-luck virtueepistemology—can account for, and in the process shed light on, the notion of an epistemic defeater. To this end, an overview of the motivations for anti-luck virtueepistemology is offered, along with a taxonomy of different kinds of epistemic defeater. It is then shown how anti-luck virtueepistemology can explain: why certain kinds of putative epistemic defeater are not bona fide; how certain (...) kinds of epistemic defeater are genuine in virtue of exposing the subject to significant levels of epistemic risk; and how certain kinds of epistemic defeater are genuine in virtue of highlighting how the subject’s safe cognitive success does not stand in the appropriate explanatory relationship to her manifestation of relevant cognitive ability. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the literature on cognitive heuristics and biases in light of virtueepistemology, specifically highlighting the two major positions—agent-reliabilism and agent-responsibilism —as they apply to dual systems theories of cognition and the role of motivation in biases. We investigate under which conditions heuristics and biases might be characterized as vicious and conclude that a certain kind of intellectual arrogance can be attributed to an inappropriate reliance on Type 1, or the improper function of Type (...) 2, cognitive processes. By the same token, the proper intervention of Type 2 processes results in the virtuous functioning of our cognitive systems. Moreover, the role of motivation in attenuating cognitive biases and the cultivation of certain epistemic habits points to the tenets of agent-responsibilism.. (shrink)
Anti-Luck VirtueEpistemology (ALVE) states that for S to have knowledge, S must have a virtuously formed safe true belief. S’s belief that p is safe if, in most near-by possible worlds where S’s belief is formed in the same manner as in the actual world, S’s belief is true. S’s safe belief that p is virtuously formed if S’s safe belief is formed using reliable and well-integrated cognitive processes and it is to S’s credit that she formed (...) the belief. In this paper, I offer a novel counterexample to ALVE. I offer a case where an individual forms a belief on the basis of divine revelation. Intuitively the person has knowledge, but ALVE predicts otherwise. The upshot is not only that we have a counter example to ALVE, but also, that ALVE may not serve the needs of an adequate religious epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper, I respond to an objection raised by Duncan Pritchard and Jesper Kallestrup against virtueepistemology. In particular, they argue that the virtue epistemologist must either deny that S knows that p only if S believes that p because of S’s virtuous operation or deny that intuitive cases of testimonial knowledge. Their dilemma has roots in the apparent ease by which we obtain testimonial knowledge and, thus, how the virtue epistemologist can explain such knowledge (...) in a way that both preserves testimonial knowledge and grounds it in one’s virtues. I argue that the virtue epistemologist has a way to accomplish both tasks if we take epistemic trust to be an intellectual virtue. I briefly discuss what such trust must look like and then apply it to the dilemma at hand: showing that a key intellectual virtue plausibly operates in cases of testimonial knowledge and/or belief. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel has proposed that the existence of moral luck mandates a general attitude of skepticism in ethics. One popular way of arguing against Nagel’s claim is to insist that the phenomenon of moral luck itself is an illusion , in the sense that situations in which it seems to occur may be plausibly re-described so as to show that agents need not be held responsible for the unlucky outcomes of their actions. Here I argue that this strategy for explaining (...) away moral luck fails because it does not take account of the fact that agents in morally unlucky circumstances are uniformly subject to a very specific type of epistemic obligation. I then proceed to sketch out an alternative strategy for blocking the inference to skepticism, one that makes use of the distinctive explanatory resources provided by epistemic virtue theory. Key Words: moral luck • moral skepticism • Thomas Nagel • virtueepistemology • Linda Zagzebski. (shrink)
A strong, strictly virtue- based , and at the same time truth-centered framework for virtueepistemology (VE) is proposed that bases VE upon a clearly motivating epistemic virtue, inquisitiveness or curiosity in a very wide sense, characterizes the purely executive capacities-virtues as a means for the truth-goal set by the former, and, finally, situates the remaining, partly motivating and partly executive virtues in relation to this central stock of virtues. Character-trait epistemic virtues are presented as hybrids, (...) partly moral, partly purely epistemic. In order to make the approach virtue- based , it is argued that the central virtue (inquisitiveness or curiosity) is responsible for the value of truth: truth is valuable to cognizers because they are inquisitive, and most other virtues are a means for satisfying inquisitiveness. On can usefully combine this virtue-based account of the motivation for acquiring knowledge with a Sosa-style analysis of the concept “knowledge”, which brings to the forefront virtues-capacities, in order to obtain a full-blooded, “strong” VE. (shrink)
Virtueepistemology is faced with the challenge of establishing the degree to which a knower’s cognitive success is attributable to her cognitive ability. As Duncan Pritchard notes, in some cases one is inclined to a strong version of virtueepistemology, one that requires cognitive success to be because of the exercise of the relevant cognitive abilities. In other cases, a weak version of virtueepistemology seems preferable, where cognitive success need only be the product (...) of cognitive ability. Pritchard’s preference, with his anti-luck virtueepistemology, is for the latter. But as Christoph Kelp has recently argued, this preference is not without controversy. Notably, Kelp argues that Pritchard on the basis of his anti-luck virtueepistemology is impelled to cast the wrong judgment in a case that Pritchard himself discusses many times in his writings, the so-called ‘Temp case’. Though Pritchard argues that Temp lacks knowledge because his cognitive success is not a result of his cognitive ability, I concur with Kelp that Pritchard’s epistemology should in fact attribute knowledge to Temp, and show this by locating weaknesses in three distinct arguments Pritchard uses to show that Temp lacks knowledge. I subsequently argue that if Pritchard wishes to persist in denying knowledge to Temp, he should endorse what I call the ‘true description’ requirement. I close the paper by providing an argument for this requirement, controversial though it is. (shrink)
One of the guiding ideas of virtueepistemology is to look at epistemological issue through the lens of practical philosophy. The Gettier Problem is a case in point. Virtue epistemologists, like Sosa and Greco, see the shortcoming in a Gettier scenario as a shortcoming from which performances in general can suffer. In this paper I raise some doubts about the success of this project. Looking more closely at practical philosophy, will, I argue, show that virtue (...) class='Hi'>epistemology misconceives the significance of Gettier structures in the practical domain. (shrink)
I review several theoretical and empirical developments relevant to assessing contemporary virtueepistemology’s theory of knowledge. What emerges is a leaner theory of knowledge that is more empirically adequate, better captures the ordinary conception of knowledge, and is ripe for cross-fertilization with cognitive science. I call this view abilism. Along the way I identify several topics for future research.
Robust clinical decision-making depends on valid reasoning and sound judgment and is essential for delivering quality healthcare. It is often susceptible, however, to a clinician’s biases such as towards a patient’s age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Gender bias in particular has a deleterious impact, which frequently results in cognitive myopia so that a clinician is unable to make an accurate diagnosis because of a patient’s gender—especially for female patients. Virtueepistemology provides a means for confronting gender bias (...) in clinical decision-making and for correcting or even preventing its impact. The medical literature on cardiovascular and coronary heart disease is used to illustrate the role intellectual virtues can play in redressing the deleterious impact of gender bias on clinical decision-making and practice. Finally, questions are considered surrounding the pedagogy of intellectual virtues for medical students and practicing clinicians in order to provide quality care for patients, regardless of gender. (shrink)
Virtueepistemology has it that knowledge is a kind of success through ability, and explains the value of knowledge in terms of the general value of success through ability. However, Duncan Pritchard, in a series of recent writings, argues that knowledge is not merely a success through ability, and the virtue-theoretic explanation of the value of knowledge fails. He derives general claims about what he calls ‘environmental luck’ from certain examples, and uses them against virtue (...) class='Hi'>epistemology. First, I propose counterexamples to Pritchard’s general claims about environmental luck. Second, I offer a diagnosis of both Pritchard’s and my examples, according to which they differ as to how many abilities are responsible for the performance in question. Different structures of performance make for different conditions for success to be fully creditable to a subject. Once this is taken account of, virtueepistemology can deal with all the examples, while maintaining its main tenet that the value of knowledge is explained in terms of the value of success through ability. Third, I show that my response to Pritchard’s argument against virtueepistemology is more plausible then the ones offered by John Greco and Ernest Sosa. (shrink)
This paper articulates and defends a novel version of internalist evidentialism which employs dispositions to account for the relation of evidentialsupport. In section one, I explain internalist evidentialist views generally, highlighting the way in which the relation of evidential support stands at the heart of these views. I then discuss two leading ways in which evidential support has been understood by evidentialists, and argue that an account of support which employs what I call epistemic dispositions remedies difficulties arguably faced by (...) these two leading accounts. In sections two and three, I turn to advantages that my dispositionalist account of evidential support offers evidentialists beyond its remedying apparent difficulties with rival accounts of support. In section two, I show that the account is well-suited to help the evidentialist respond to the problem of forgotten evidence. And, in section three, I show that adopting my dispositional account makes possible an attractive and natural synthesis of evidentialism and virtueepistemology which is superior to the leading contemporary synthesis of these views. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Christopher Bobier has argued that Duncan Pritchard’s Anti-Luck VirtueEpistemology cannot account for knowledge that we have through Divine Revelation. This gives philosophers who believe that Divine Revelation can be source of knowledge reason to reject ALVE. Bobier’s arguments are specifically against ALVE, but they serve as arguments against all sorts of virtue epistemologies. In this paper then, I will critically examine Bobier’s argument, and contend that virtue epistemologies are compatible with knowledge (...) through Divine Revelation. (shrink)
A Review of S. Napiers, book VirtueEpistemology. While concerned with the nature of knowledge, Napier also wants to claim that a key implication of responsibilist VE is “a shift away from analyzing epistemic concepts (knowledge, etc.) in terms of other epistemic concepts (e.g. justification) to analyzing epistemic concepts with reference to kinds of human activity…much of analytic epistemology centers on epistemic concepts, whereas the responsibilist focuses on epistemic activity” (144).Of the main points he claims responsibilism provides (...) us with—(i) rentention of the idea that a person who knows is personally justified in the sense of is rational, justified, or intellectually good, (ii) a sound account of the value of knowledge, and (iii) a Gettier-proof theory of knowledge —I pose some questions about the first and third. (shrink)
This article traces a growing interest among epistemologists in the intellectuals of epistemic virtues. These are cognitive dispositions exercised in the formation of beliefs. Attempts to give intellectual virtues a central normative and/or explanatory role in epistemology occur together with renewed interest in the ethics/epistemology analogy, and in the role of intellectual virtue in Aristotle's epistemology. The central distinction drawn here is between two opposed forms of virtueepistemology, virtue reliabilism and virtue (...) responsibilism. The article develops the shared and distinctive claims made by contemporary proponents of each form, in their respective treatments of knowledge and justification. (shrink)
In this article I return to an argument that I presented in earlier work to the effect that virtueepistemology is at worse false and at best unmotivated. In the light of recent responses to this argument from such figures as John Greco, Guy Axtell, and Kelly Becker, I here re-state and re-evaluate this argument. In the process the original argument is refined and supplemented in key respects and some of the main charges against it are shown to (...) be unfounded. Nevertheless, I also argue that at least one of the objections to the original argument—due to Becker—may well be on the right lines, and I draw some conclusions in this regard. (shrink)
The recent literature on the theory of knowledge has taken a distinctive turn by focusing on the role of the cognitive and intellectual virtues in the acquisition of knowledge. The main contours and motivations for such virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge are here sketched and it is argued that virtueepistemology in its most plausible form can be regarded as a refined form of reliabilism, and thus a variety of epistemic externalism. Moreover, it is claimed that there is (...) strong empirical support in favour of the virtue epistemic position so understood, and an empirical study regarding the cognitive processes employed by medical experts in their diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy is cited in this regard. In general, it is argued that one can best account for 'expert' knowledge in terms of a virtue-theoretic epistemology that retains key reliabilist features. It is thus shown that understanding knowledge along virtue-theoretic lines has important implications for our understanding of how knowledge is acquired, and thus for the philosophy of education. (shrink)
The ancient Greeks almost universally accepted the thesis that virtues are skills. Skills have an underlying intellectual structure , and having a particular skill entails understanding the relevant logos. possessing a general ability to diagnose and solve problems . as well as having appropriate experience. Two implications of accepting this thesis for moral epistemology and epistemology in general are considered. Thinking of virtues as skills yields a viable virtueepistemology in which moral knowledge is a species (...) of a general kind of knowledge that is not philosophically suspect. Also, the debate between internalists and externalists in epistemology is subversively resolved as moot by adopting this strategy: the locus of justification for a belief is in the nature of skill. Thus, the contingent fact that some skills allow Homo Sapiens an ‘internal access’. while others do not, is theoretically neutral when considering the nature of justification per se. (shrink)
In this paper I develop and support a feminist virtueepistemology and bring it into conversation with feminist contextual empiricism and feminist standpoint theory. The virtue theory I develop is centered on the virtue of epistemic trustworthiness, which foregrounds the social/political character of knowledge practices and products, and the differences between epistemic agencies that perpetuate, on the one hand, and displace, on the other hand, normative patterns of unjust epistemic discrimination. I argue that my view answers (...) important questions regarding epistemic agency which both contextual empiricism and standpoint theory leave open, but need to have answered. Feminist virtueepistemology thus emerges as providing an integrative framework for pluralism in feminist epistemology that illuminated connections among theories through engagement with the lived experiences, aspirations, and epistemic work of feminist epistemic agents. (shrink)
“Situationists” such as Gilbert Harman and John Doris have accused virtue ethicists as having an “empirically inadequate” theory, arguing that much of social science research suggests that people do not have robust character traits as traditionally thought. By far, the most common response to this challenge has been what I refer to as “the rarity response” or the “rarity thesis”. Rarity responders deny that situationism poses any sort of threat to virtue ethics since there is no reason to (...) suppose that the moral virtues are typical or widespread. But, far from being its saving grace, I will argue, the rarity thesis forces virtue ethicists into positions that are incompatible with their theoretical foundations or render their theory normatively irrelevant. The more the virtue ethicists modify their thesis to fit the empirical evidence and to be normatively relevant, the less they retain a virtue ethical theory. This is also the case for virtue epistemologists. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that virtue ethics should be understood as a form of ethics which integrates various domains of the practical in relation to which virtues are excellences. To argue this it is necessary to distinguish two senses of the “moral”: the broad sense which integrates the domains of the practical and a narrow classificatory sense. Virtue ethics, understood as above, believes that all genuine virtue should be understood as what I call virtues proper. To (...) possess a virtue proper (such as an excellent disposition of open-mindedness, an epistemic virtue) is to possess a disposition of overall excellence in relation to the sphere or field of the virtue (being open to the opinions of others). Overall excellence in turn involves excellence in integrating to a sufficient degree, standards of excellence in all relevant practical domains. Epistemic virtues, sporting virtues, moral virtues, and so on are all virtues proper. In particular it is impossible for an epistemic virtue to be a moral (narrow sense) vice. (shrink)
In my remarks, I discuss Sosa's attempt to deal with the sceptical threat posed by dreaming. Sosa explores two replies to the problem of dreaming scepticism. First, he argues that, on the imagination model of dreaming, dreaming does not threaten the safety of our beliefs. Second, he argues that knowledge does not require safety, but a weaker condition which is not threatened by dreaming skepticism. I raise questions about both elements of his reply.
In response to Anton Froeyman's paper, “Virtues of Historiography,“ this article argues that philosophers of history interested in why historians cherish such virtues as carefulness, impartiality, and intellectual courage would do wise not to classify these virtues unequivocally as either epistemic or moral virtues. Likewise, in trying to grasp the roles that virtues play in the historian's professional practice, philosophers of history would be best advised to avoid adopting either an epistemological or an ethical perspective. Assuming that the historian's virtuous (...) behavior has epistemic and moral dimensions (as well as aesthetic, political, and other dimensions), this article advocates a non-reductionist account of historical scholarship, which acknowledges that the virtues cherished by historians usually play a variety of roles, depending on the goals they are supposed to serve. Given that not the least important of these goals are epistemic ones, the articles concludes that virtue ethical approaches, to the extent that they are focused on the acquisition of moral instead of epistemic goods, insufficiently recognize the role of virtue in the pursuit of such epistemic aims as knowledge and understanding. (shrink)
I attempt to clarify the connection between two late texts by V.S. Solov''ëv: Justification of the Good and Theoretical Philosophy. Solov''ëv drew attention to the intrinsic connection between moral and intellectual virtues. Theoretical Philosophy is the initial -- unfinished -- sketch of the dynamism of mind seeking truth as a good. I sketch several parallels and analogies between the doctrine of moral experience set out in Justification and the account of the intellect''s dynamism based on immediate certitude set out in (...) Theoretical Philosophy. Solov''ëv can thus be considered as a virtue epistemologist in the current meaning given to this description. I conclude by suggesting that Solov''ëv''s position on these questions does not easily cohere with the impersonalism he appears to defend in Theoretical Philosophy. (shrink)
Abstract I agree with Sosa that intuitions are best thought of as attractions to believe a certain proposition merely on the basis of understanding it. However, I don’t think it is constitutive of them that they supply strictly foundational justification for the propositions they justify, though I do believe that it is important that the intuition of a suitable subject be thought of as a prima facie justification for his intuitive judgment, independently of the reliability of his underlying capacities. I (...) also think that we need to be able to explain how mere understanding of a proposition can confer upon us an ability to have reliable intuitions, that we cannot simply take that idea for granted. And that when try to explain that, our best avenue for doing so is to take the intuitions as constituting the understanding of which they are said to be a manifestation. (shrink)
Abstract Paul Boghossian discusses critically my account of intuition as a source of epistemic status. Stewart Cohen takes up my views on skepticism, on dreams, and on epistemic competence and competences and their relation to human knowledge. Hilary Kornblith focuses on my animal/reflective distinction, and, along with Cohen, on my comparison between how dreams might mislead us and how other bad epistemic contexts can do so. In this paper I offer replies to my three critics.