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Chapter 8 - Re-evaluating the situationist challenge to virtue epistemology

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

The situationist challenge to virtue theory arose with respect to virtue ethics. The expression of the situationist challenge to virtue epistemology is offered by Mark Alfano. The chapter begins with Alfano's situationist attack on responsibility virtue epistemology. Alfano's strategy is to cite experiments which appear to show that situational factors have a significant bearing on agents' abilities to complete certain intellectual tasks. The chapter shows that Alfano offers a different version of the situationist critique of virtue epistemology depending on whether it is responsibilist or reliabilist virtue epistemology that is at issue. It briefly considers a version of robust virtue epistemology which has been offered by John Greco, and which is broadly speaking a reliabilist proposal. Once one recognizes the epistemic dependency of knowledge, then robust virtue epistemology ceases to be an option. Modest virtue epistemology, in contrast, is entirely compatible with the epistemic dependence of knowledge.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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