PHIL 450A:  Discussion Questions on Virtue Epistemology

 

1.  On Zagzebski's Precis:  (a) What does she mean by the naturalistic way and the moral way of looking at the normativity of knowledge? (b) In Zagzebski's parallel between epistemology and ethics, what type of ethical view corresponds to Steup's internalist account of epistemic justification; what type of ethical view corresponds to reliabilist accounts of epistemic justification in epistemology?  What kind of ethical view corresponds to Zagzabski's approach to epistemology?  (c) What are examples of traits that Zagzebski regards as intellectual virtues?  (d) What is the ultimate goal of intellectual virtues?  (e) What is a justified belief?  (f) What is a praiseworthy belief?  (g) What is an act of intellectual virtue?  (h) What is knowledge?

 

2.  On Greco's Objections and Zagzebski's Response:  (a) Why does Greco think that acts of intellectual virtue are not necessary for knowledge?  (b) Why does he think they are not sufficient for knowledge?  (c) What does he mean by "agent-reliability"?  (d) How does Zagzebski reply to Greco?  What does she mean when she says, "I am giving a theory of human knowledge, not an analysis of the concept of knowledge"(209).

 

3.  On Alston's Objections and Zagzebski's Response:  (a) Why does Alston believe that Zagzebski's account does not work for perceptual knowledge? 

 

4.  On Kvanig's Objections and Zagzebski's Response:  (a) What does Kvanvig mean by propositionalism and doxasticism?  (b) Which position does Kvanvig attribute to Zagzebski?  (c) What is his objection to her position?  (d) How does Zagzebski reply?

 

5.  On Kornblith's Objections and Zagzebski's Response:  (a) What does Kornblith mean by the epistemic constraint in Zagzebski's account of justified belief?  (b) Why does he believe that there is a problem with the way that Zagzebski specifies this epistemic constraint?  (Use the example in footnote 3 to explain the problem.)  (c) How does Zagzebski reply?  (d) Why does Kornblith think that Zagzebski's account makes it too easy to explain the justifiedness of particular beliefs?  (e) How does Zagzebski reply?

 

6.  On Amelie Rorty's Objections and Zagzebski's Response:  (a) Why does Rorty think it is a mistake to classify the intellectual virtues as moral virtues?  (b) Use Rorty's example of the attorney to explain the following claim:  A person with no intellectually virtuous motives at all can have knowledge.  (c) How does Zagzebski reply?