With its focus on intellectual virtues and their role in the acquisition and transmission of knowledge and related epistemic goods, virtue epistemology provides a rich set of tools for educational theory and practice. In particular, characteristics under the rubric of "responsibilist" virtue epistemology, like curiosity, open-mindedness, attentiveness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity, can help educators and students define and attain certain worthy but nebulous educational goals like a love of learning, lifelong learning, and critical thinking. This volume is devoted to (...) exploring the intersection between virtue epistemology and education. It assembles leading virtue epistemologists and philosophers of education to address such questions as: Which virtues are most essential to education? How exactly should these virtues be understood? How is the goal of intellectual character growth related to other educational goals, for example, to critical thinking and knowledge-acquisition? What are the "best practices" for achieving this goal? Can growth in intellectual virtues be measured? The chapters are a prime example of "applied epistemology" and promise to be a seminal contribution to an area of research that is rapidly gaining attention within epistemology and beyond. (shrink)
This paper examines the claim made by certain virtue epistemologists that intellectual character virtues like fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and intellectual courage merit an important and fundamental role in epistemology. I begin by considering whether these traits merit an important role in the analysis of knowledge. I argue that they do not and that in fact they are unlikely to be of much relevance to any of the traditional problems in epistemology. This presents a serious challenge for virtue epistemology. I go on (...) to examine the work of two other virtue epistemologists in light of this challenge and then sketch an alternative approach that reveals how the intellectual virtues might merit a substantial role in epistemology even if not a role in connection with more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
Virtue Epistemology Virtue epistemology is a collection of recent approaches to epistemology that give epistemic or intellectual virtue concepts an important and fundamental role. Virtue epistemologists can be divided into two groups, each accepting a different conception of what an intellectual virtue is. Virtue reliabilists conceive of intellectual virtues as stable, reliable and truth-conducive cognitive … Continue reading Virtue Epistemology →.
The terms "a priori" and "a posteriori" refer primarily to how or on what basis a proposition might be known. A proposition is knowable a priori if it is knowable independently of experience. A proposition is knowable a posteriori if it is knowable on the basis of experience. The a priori/a posteriori distinction is epistemological and should not be confused with the metaphysical distinction between the necessary and the contingent or the semantical or logical distinction between the analytic and the (...) synthetic. Two aspects of the a priori/a posteriori distinction require clarification: the conception of experience on which the distinction turns; and the sense in which a priori knowledge is independent of such experience. The latter gives rise to important questions regarding the positive basis of a priori knowledge. (shrink)
My concern is with the epistemological role of traits like inquisitiveness, attentiveness, fair-mindedness, open-mindedness, intellectual carefulness, thoroughness, tenacity, and caution. I argue for two main claims, one negative and the other positive. ;Negatively, I argue that considerations of intellectual virtue do not have an important role to play in connection with any of the more traditional epistemological problems. I show that if considerations of intellectual virtue were to play such a role, it would have to be in connection with the (...) analysis of knowledge, but that any view which makes an exercise of intellectual virtue a necessary condition for knowledge is bound to fail. ;Positively, I argue that there nevertheless remain a number of interesting and important philosophical questions and issues concerning the nature and value of virtuous intellectual character which are of considerable importance to epistemology. I defend this claim in two steps. First, I argue that virtuous intellectual character is both a constituent of and a highly important means to intellectual flourishing. It follows from this that since epistemology is concerned broadly with the more important or valuable philosophical dimensions of the intellectual life, insofar as there are philosophical questions and issues to be pursued in connection with the intellectual virtues, these have an important role to play in epistemology. Second, I go on to elucidate and discuss a number of these questions and issues, most of which are concerned with the nature and value of virtuous intellectual character as such. ;I conclude, then, that considerations of intellectual virtue do have an important role to play in epistemology, even if not in connection with any of the more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)