Problems for virtue theories in epistemology

Lockie, Robert ORCID: (2008) Problems for virtue theories in epistemology. Philosophical Studies, 138 (2). pp. 169-191. ISSN 1573-0883

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This paper identifies and criticizes certain fundamental commitments of virtue theories in epistemology. A basic question for virtues approaches is whether they represent a ‘third force’– a different source of normativity to internalism and externalism. Virtues approaches so-conceived are opposed. It is argued that virtues theories offer us nothing that can unify the internalist and externalist sub-components of their preferred success-state. Claims that character can unify a virtues-based axiology are overturned. Problems with the pluralism of virtues theories are identified – problems with pluralism and the nature of the self; and problems with pluralism and the goals of epistemology. Moral objections to virtue theory are identified – specifically, both the idea that there can be a radical axiological priority to character and the anti-enlightenment tendencies in virtues approaches. Finally, some strengths to virtue theory are conceded, while the role of epistemic luck is identified as an important topic for future work.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1007/s11098-006-9030-7
Keywords: Virtue epistemology; Virtue ethics; Internalism; Externalism; Third force; Phronesis; Axiology; Pluralism; Anti-enlightenment; Universalizability; Eudaimonia
Subjects: Philosophy
Depositing User: Rod Pow
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2012 10:28
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:39

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