A Reflection on Regarding Intellectual Virtues as Adequate to Acquire Knowledge

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD of philosophy of religion and modern theological issues, Qom University


Gettier’s objections to the definition of “true justified belief” compelled the epistemologists to think about and provide an inclusive and exclusive definition of knowledge. In the new approach of virtue-based epistemology, it is claimed that the epistemic agent achieves the truth just if the intellectual and epistemic virtues are resorted to in the process of acquiring knowledge, thus knowledge is defined as “a belief resulted from the act of intellectual virtues”. This new approach and the transmitting the theory of virtue into the realm of epistemology faces many challenges, some of which are related to the principle of applying the virtues including ambiguity in the quantity and quality of the intellectual virtues, not providing a solution for contradiction between these virtues, inadequate reasons for separating intellectual virtues from moral virtues and ambiguity in the epistemic function of the faculty of practical wisdom. On the other hand, the claim that the application of intellectual virtues corresponding to each and every epistemic circumstance guides to truthfulness is disputable both as a general claim and as an inclusive one. Aside from the advantages of this theory, the constructive and destructive reasons indicate that it is incorrect to regard the function of intellectual virtues as adequate to achieve the truthfulness of the beliefs. Providing a brief review of this approach to Zagzebski’s account, the present paper criticizes the claim that the function of intellectual virtues would be necessary and sufficient to acquire knowledge.


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