[lit-ideas] Virtue Ethics/Epistemology

  • From: Walter Okshevsky <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 21:45:28 -0230 (NDT)

Reply to Robert Paul (15, Jun 2004)

Robert's reply - now, alas, lost in my computer files but still available
in hardcopy form - suggests, as I understand it, that our epistemically
virtuous pursuit of justification, knowledge and truth needs to be
tempered by a recognition of the essential role of trust (along with
such things as loyalty and acceptance) within our
interpersonal relations with others - i.e., being assured of our
children's love for us -  lest we fall prey to "the  neurosis of
epistemology." Such a recognition seems to be of a moral nature; it is a
moral virtue of character to know "where and when we ought to make use of
our epistemic virtues ..."  (I'm happy with Phil's use of "phronesis" to
name this virtue so long as we understand this kind of judgment in Kantian
rather than Aristotelian terms.)

But it seems to me that this virtue of judgment or character
still presupposes a bifurcation between moral and epistemic virtue and the
respective criteria they operate with. A person possessing this virtue
understands in what circumstances trust trumps finding out or believing on
good grounds as Robert put it. She recognizes, as such, that epistemically
virtuous believing and acting may not be morally right or permissible; and
conversely, that morally permissible action and judgment may yet be
blameworthy on epistemic grounds. The common root I'm wondering about
concerns the possibility of a virtue, norm or criterion which is
simultaneously epistemic AND moral, both epistemically virtuous and
morally virtuous as a holistic unity that is prior to its splitting off
into separate realms of normative assessment.

Memorial U
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