ZAGZEBSKI'S COMPARISON OF NORMATIVE EPISTEMOLOGY WITH NORMATIVE ETHICS

 

 

ETHICS

 

EPISTEMOLOGY

 

Deontological

 

 

Deontological

 

Consequentialist (e.g., Utilitarian)

 

Reliabilist

 

Virtue

 

 

???

 

 

Note that, unlike Steup, Zagzebski does not merely think that there is an analogy between ethics and epistemology, for her virtue epistemology is a part of ethics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zagzebski's Reasons For Seeking

A Virtue Epistemology

 

Reasons For Seeking A Virtue Epistemology:

(1) Impasse (between externalists and internalists) over the nature of justification;

(2) Neglect of the social dimension of epistemic states;

(3) Neglect of the values of understanding and wisdom.

 

A virtue is a deep and enduring acquired excellence that includes both a motivational component and a component of reliable success in bringing about the end of the motivation component .

 

What are the intellectual virtues?

Examples: Open-mindedness, intellectual fairness, autonomy, trustworthiness, courage, perseverance, and attentiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZAGZEBSKI'S ACCOUNT OF

KNOWLEDGE

 

"An act is an act of intellectual virtue I just in case it arises from the motivational component of I, is something a person with I would characteristically do in the circumstances, and is successful in leading to the immediate end of I and to the truth because of these features of the act."(175)

 

"Knowledge is a state of belief arising from acts of intellectual virtue."(176)

 

Zagzebski seems to be proposing the following analysis:

 

K AIVB

(where AIVB itself implies Truth)

 

But we will see that she later disavows such an ambitious goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHALLENGES TO ZAGZEBSKI'S ACCOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE

 

A. Challenges to Necessity (K AIVB)

(1) Greco: Expertise without intellectual virtues.

(2) Alston: Perceptual knowledge

 

B. Challenges to Sufficiency (AIVB K)

(1) Greco: The example of the math student

 

 

Zagzebski: The difference between providing a logical analysis of the concept of knowledge and describing the way that human beings acquire knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZAGZEBSKI'S ACCOUNT OF

JUSTIFIED BELIEF

 

A justified belief is something an intellectually virtuous person might believe in like circumstances.

 

An unjustified belief is a belief an intellectually virtuous person characteristically would not believe in like circumstances.

 

An epistemic duty is a belief an intellectually virtuous person characteristically would believe in like circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHALLENGES TO ZAGZEBSKI'S ACCOUNT OF JUSTIFIED BELIEF

 

(1) Kvanvig and Kornblith: Relativity to the understanding that an intellectually virtuous agent would have.

Zagzebski: Attempts to explain permissible beliefs, not praiseworthy belief. (Zagzebski thinks that knowledge is an important concept, but justified belief is not.)

 

(2) Kornblith: Problem with the subjunctive: What if my belief that p has a different causal basis than the intellectually virtuous person's belief that p would have?

Zagzebski's response is the same as to (1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Kvanvig: Cannot explain propositional justification: Propositionalism vs. doxasiticism. Propositionalism explains justification in terms of logical or quasi-logical relations.

Zagzebski disavows the propositionalist project.

 

 

(4) Kornblith: Problems of conflicts of intellectual virtues.

Zagzebski: Requires expert consensus. (Note the parallel to Aristotle's solution to problems of conflicts of virtues.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER CHALLENGES

 

(1) Greco: There are versions of reliabilism that count as virtue epistemologies.

 

(2) Alston and Rorty: Intellectual virtues do not have characteristic emotions.

 

(3) Alston: Beliefs are not under our voluntary control.

 

(4) Rorty: It is a mistake to try to reduce epistemic values to moral values.