Virtue and Character in Reliabilism

Jason Baehr

in The Inquiring Mind

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604074
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729300 | DOI:
Virtue and Character in Reliabilism

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Here it is argued that while intellectual virtues do not merit a central and fundamental role in an analysis of knowledge, they do merit a peripheral or secondary role in reliabilist theories of knowledge. Reliabilists define knowledge (roughly) as true belief arising from reliable or truth‐conducive cognitive processes or traits. However, most reliabilists exclude intellectual character virtues from their repertoire of reliable or knowledge‐conferring qualities. It is argued that this exclusion leaves reliabilists unable to account for some of the knowledge that human beings care about most. This is because reliability with respect to the relevant issues and subject matters is largely a matter of possessing virtuous intellectual character. It follows that reliabilists must include intellectual character vi11ues in their repertoire of knowledge‐conferring qualities. Finally, it is shown why this inclusion generates several challenging theoretical questions and issues that must be confronted by any comprehensive version of reliabilism.

Keywords: Reliabilism; virtue reliabilism; character and reliability; Ernest Sosa; John Greco; Alvin Goldman; knowledge and agency

Chapter.  9338 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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