Xunzi and Virtue Epistemology

Universitas: Monthly Review of Philosophy and Culture 41 (3):121-142 (2014)
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Regulative virtue epistemology argues that intellectual virtues can adjust and guide one’s epistemic actions as well as improve on the quality of the epistemic actions. For regulative virtue epistemologists, intellectual virtues can be cultivated to a higher degree; when the quality of intellectual virtue is better, the resulting quality of epistemic action is better. The intellectual virtues that regulative epistemologists talk about are character virtues (such as intellectual courage and open-mindedness) rather than faculty virtues (such as sight and hearing), since they don’t think that faculty virtues could be cultivated. This article refers to Xunzi’s philosophy, explaining how a regulative faculty-based virtue epistemology is possible. If this explanation works, on the one hand, a new branch of contemporary virtue epistemology is shown, and, on the other hand, a clear theoretical framework of Xunzi’s epistemology is constructed.

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Cheng-hung Tsai
Academia Sinica, Taiwan


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