The Social Virtue Of Blind Deference

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):545-582 (2015)
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Abstract

Recently, it has become popular to account for knowledge and other epistemic states in terms of epistemic virtues. The present paper focuses on an epistemic virtue relevant when deferring to others in testimonial contexts. It is argued that, while many virtue epistemologists will accept that epistemic virtue can be exhibited in cases involving epistemically motivated hearers, carefully vetting their testimonial sources for signs of untrustworthiness prior to deferring, anyone who accepts that also has to accept that an agent may exhibit epistemic virtue in certain cases of blind deference, involving someone soaking up everything he or she is told without any hesitation. Moreover, in order to account for the kind of virtue involved in the relevant cases of blind deference, virtue epistemologists need to abandon a widespread commitment to personalism, i.e., the idea that virtue is possessed primarily on account of features internal to the psychology of the person, and accept that some virtues are social virtues, possessed in whole or in large part on account of the person being embedded in a reliable social environment.

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References found in this work

Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
A virtue epistemology.Ernest Sosa - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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