A Natural Fit: Natural Law Theory, Virtue Epistemology, and the Value of Knowledge

Journal of Philosophical Research 42:45-63 (2017)
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Abstract

I propose and defend a new combination of natural law ethics and virtue epistemology. While all contemporary natural law theories recognize knowledge as one of the basic human goods, none of them provide a detailed explanation for the value of knowledge, which would greatly enrich such theories. I show that virtue epistemology is able to deliver the required solution to the value problem, which makes this combination project very attractive. I also address two major worries about this approach: it commits one to a type of virtue ethics that is incompatible with natural law theory; and it results in a fragmented, pluralistic account of normativity. I attempt to alleviate both worries, arguing that the first is unfounded and the second, while true, is not a genuine cause for concern because the combination of natural law ethics and virtue epistemology is more unified than it may appear.

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Matthew Shea
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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References found in this work

The Search for the Source of Epistemic Good.Linda Zagzebski - 2003 - Metaphilosophy 34 (1-2):12-28.
Virtue epistemology.Heather Battaly - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):639-663.
Agent-Based Virtue Ethics.Michael Slote - 1995 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 20 (1):83-101.
Two Kinds of Intellectual Virtue. [REVIEW]John Greco - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):179.

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