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Other–Regarding Epistemic Virtues

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Abstract:

Epistemologists often assume that an agent’s epistemic goal is simply to acquire as much knowledge as possible for herself. Drawing on an analogy with ethics and other practices, I argue that being situated in an epistemic community introduces a range of epistemic virtues (and goals) which fall outside of those typically recognized by both individualistic and social epistemologists. Candidate virtues include such traits as honesty, integrity (including an unwillingness to misuse one’s status as an expert), patience, and creativity. We can understand such traits to be epistemic virtues insofar as they tend to produce knowledge – not for the agent alone, but for her community. Recognition of such ‘other–regarding epistemic virtues’ both broadens the area of inquiry of epistemology, and introduces new standards for the evaluation of epistemic agents.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9329.00190

Affiliations: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA Jason–Kawall@utc.edu

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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