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Virtue Epistemology

JOHN GRECO


Subject Philosophy » Epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405139007.2010.00008.x


Extract

The term “virtue epistemology” was first introduced into the literature by Ernest Sosa, who argued that epistemology might benefit by adopting an approach analogous to virtue theory in ethics. By adopting a virtue-theoretic approach to justification and knowledge, Sosa argued, we can make progress on a variety of epistemological problems, including skepticism, the analysis of knowledge, the debate between foundationalism and coherentism, and the debate between internalism and externalism. Since Sosa's seminal work, epistemologists have defended a variety of positions and approaches that might properly be classified as “virtue epistemology”. One important division among these concerns how we are to understand the notion of an intellectual virtue. Some epistemologists, including Sosa, understand the intellectual virtues as cognitive powers or abilities, such as accurate perception, reliable memory and sound reasoning ( Sosa, 1991 and 2003a ; Goldman, 1992 ; Kvanvig, 1992 ; Plantinga, 1993 ; Greco, 1999a and 2000a ). Others understand the intellectual virtues as character traits more analogous to the moral virtues, such as intellectual courage, intellectual honesty, and fair-mindedness ( Code, 1984 and 1987 ; Montmarquet, 1987 and 1993 ; Zagzebski, 1996 ). Another important division concerns the projects in which virtue epistemologists are engaged. Whereas some have argued that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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