In Heather Battaly (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology (2019)
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In this chapter I sympathetically consider the idea that skepticism is an epistemic virtue. I argue that this depends on whether skepticism is admirable, and articulate three defenses of skepticism as admirable: a Pyrrhonian defense (on which skepticism leads to tranquility), a Cartesian defense (on which skepticism is prophylactic against error), and a liberal defense (on which skepticism counteracts dogmatism and closed-mindedness). I give the liberal defense the most attention: I distinguish skepticism from several species of dogmatism that are sometimes called “skeptical” (e.g. that of “climate change skeptics”), and associate skepticism with political moderation and intellectual independence.

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Allan Hazlett
Washington University in St. Louis


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