Virtue epistemology and abilism on knowledge

In Heather Battaly (ed.), Routledge handbook of virtue epistemology. Routledge. pp. 209-316 (2019)
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Virtue epistemologists define knowledge as true belief produced by intellectual virtue. In this paper, I review how this definition fails in three important ways. First, it fails as an account of the ordinary knowledge concept, because neither belief nor reliability is essential to knowledge ordinarily understood. Second, it fails as an account of the knowledge relation itself, insofar as that relation is operationalized in the scientific study of cognition. Third, it serves no prescriptive purpose identified up till now. An alternative theory, abilism, provides a superior account of knowledge as it is ordinarily and scientifically understood. According to abilism, knowledge is an accurate representation produced by cognitive ability.

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John Turri
University of Waterloo


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