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The concept of intellectual virtue as an epistemic norm

Journal: The Digital Scholar: Philosopher’s Lab (Vol.1, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 84-94

Keywords : epistemology; normativity; virtue; practice; ethics;

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The concept of epistemic norm is important for a descriptive study of cognition, i.e. an explanation of cognitive activity as derived from a change in or development of normative systems that determine the criteria of knowledge, and for the prescriptive goal of epistemology, i.e. in establishing certain norms that are considered reliable in achieving knowledge. However, the very concept of norm is not obvious or clear. There are many ways to conceptualise the structure and content of a norm, and these are the subject of study in ethics. This paper aims to consider the possibilities of a specification of the concept of epistemic norm as an intellectual virtue. In the mid-20th century, the aretaic turn in philosophy helped to solve some problems within major modern ethical doctrines (such as the lack of content or justification of ethical terms). It is proposed that the source of difficulties for ethics and epistemology as normative disciplines may be the same, and then that the ethical argumentation in favour of the aretaic turn may be interesting for epistemology, which is shown by close examination of E. Anscombe's critique of modern moral philosophers. The paper considers two main approaches to the definition of intellectual virtues, which are usually referred to as «reliabilism» (E. Sosa) and «responsibilism» (L. Zagzebski) in virtue epistemology. The later approach is preferred, since it enables the argument for responsibility of a subject. This definition of intellectual virtue is specified with a characteristic of variability in its content, which is possible within a definition, proposed by A. MacIntyre.

Last modified: 2020-03-01 23:20:27