The Perception of Virtue

In Berit Brogaard & D. Gratzia (eds.), The Epistemology of Non-visual Perception. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In this paper, I put forward an argument for the view that emotional responses of esteem to perceived demonstrations of good character represent the perceived character traits as valuable, and hence, as virtues. These esteeming experiences are analogous to perceptual representations in other modalities in their epistemic role as causing, providing content for and justifying beliefs regarding the value of the traits they represent. I also discuss the role that the perceiver’s own character plays in their ability to recognize and respond appropriately to virtue in others, showing that moral virtues are also epistemic virtues when it comes to facilitating knowledge about the character of people we encounter.

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Jennifer J. Matey
Southern Methodist University

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