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Chapter 10 - Acquiring epistemic virtue

Emotions, situations, and education

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2014

Abrol Fairweather
Affiliation:
San Francisco State University
Owen Flanagan
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
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Summary

This chapter addresses two recent empirical challenges to the acquisition of moral virtue - non-cognitive emotion and situationism - and applies them to epistemic virtue. It argues that to possess epistemic virtues, one must perform epistemically virtuous acts. The chapter introduces virtue-responsibilism: the view that epistemic virtues are acquired character traits. It offers different empirical explanations of epistemic akrasia: the former in terms of internal emotions; the latter in terms of external features of the situation. The chapter evaluates Amy Coplan's ( 2010 ) argument that since emotions are non-cognitive, moral virtues cannot be acquired simply by acquiring knowledge. It contends that non-cognitive emotions can be caused by knowledge, but can also be caused by alternative routes, like emotional contagion. It concludes that non-cognitive emotions that are caused by alternative routes can prevent us from performing acts that one knows to be epistemically virtuous.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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