A virtue epistemology: Apt belief and reflective knowledge, volume I * by Ernest Sosa [Book Review]

Analysis 69 (2):382-385 (2007)
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Ernest Sosa's A Virtue Epistemology, Vol. I is arguably the single-most important monograph to be published in analytic epistemology in the last ten years. Sosa, the first in the field to employ the notion of intellectual virtue – in his ground-breaking ‘The Raft and the Pyramid’– is the leading proponent of reliabilist versions of virtue epistemology. In A Virtue Epistemology, he deftly defends an externalist account of animal knowledge as apt belief, argues for a distinction between animal and reflective knowledge, contends that rational intuition is an intellectual virtue ; and offers responses to dream scepticism, the problem of the criterion and the value problem. Nearly all of these arguments are new, albeit consistent with Sosa's earlier work; that is, consistent with two notable exceptions. First, c ontra Sosa's ‘Replies’ in Ernest Sosa and His Critics, A Virtue Epistemology explicitly contends that safety is not required for animal knowledge. Second, unlike Sosa's Knowledge in Perspective, which arguably construes the intellectual virtues as merely instrumentally valuable, A Virtue Epistemology explicitly contends that the intellectual virtues are instrumentally and constitutively valuable. Best read in conjunction with the above monographs and Epistemic Justification, A Virtue Epistemology is mandatory reading for epistemologists and graduate students in the field. It will rightly set the standard for debates in analytic epistemology for years to come.I will summarize and raise objections to two key conclusions that are unique to A Virtue Epistemology: the ‘kaleidoscope-perceiver’ has animal knowledge but lacks reflective knowledge; unlike the k-perceiver, the ordinary perceiver has reflective knowledge. My objections …



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Ernest Sosa
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

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