Epistemic Vices in Public Debate: The Case of New Atheism

In Christopher Cotter & Philip Quadrio (eds.), New Atheism's Legacy: Critical Perspectives from Philosophy and the Social Sciences. Springer. pp. 51-68. (2017)
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Although critics often argue that the new atheists are arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded and so on, there is currently no philosophical analysis of this complaint - which I will call 'the vice charge' - and no assessment of whether it is merely a rhetorical aside or a substantive objection in its own right. This Chapter therefore uses the resources of virtue epistemology to articulate this ' vice charge' and to argue that critics are right to imply that new atheism is intrinsically epistemically vicious, and it ends with some remarks about the rationality of allowing such intrinsically vicious doctrines to feature within public debate about important matters concerning science, religion, and politics

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Ian James Kidd
Nottingham University


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