Educating for intellectual virtue: a critique from action guidance

Episteme 18 (2):177-199 (2021)
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Abstract

Virtue epistemology is among the dominant influences in mainstream epistemology today. An important commitment of one strand of virtue epistemology – responsibilist virtue epistemology – is that it must provide regulative normative guidance for good thinking. Recently, a number of virtue epistemologists have held that virtue epistemology not only can provide regulative normative guidance, but moreover that we should reconceive the primary epistemic aim of all education as the inculcation of the intellectual virtues. Baehr’s picture contrasts with another well-known position – that the primary aim of education is the promotion of critical thinking. In this paper – that we hold makes a contribution to both philosophy of education and epistemology and, a fortiori, epistemology of education – we challenge this picture. We outline three criteria that any putative aim of education must meet and hold that it is the aim of critical thinking, rather than the aim of instilling intellectual virtue, that best meets these criteria. On this basis, we propose a new challenge for intellectual virtue epistemology, next to the well-known empirically-driven ‘situationist challenge’. What we call the ‘pedagogical challenge’ maintains that the intellectual virtues approach does not have available a suitably effective pedagogy to qualify the acquisition of intellectual virtue as the primary aim of education. This is because the pedagogic model of the intellectual virtues approach is not properly action-guiding. Instead, we hold that, without much further development in virtue-based theory, logic and critical thinking must still play the primary role in the epistemology of education.

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Author Profiles

Ben Kotzee
University of Birmingham
J. Adam Carter
University of Glasgow

References found in this work

Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowing Full Well.Ernest Sosa - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
Doxastic deliberation.Nishi Shah & J. David Velleman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):497-534.

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