A forum for VE lucubration

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Happy Triumvirate: Virtue Epistemology, Contextualism and the Safety Principle (Draft)

I'm currently at work on a paper defending a virtue responsibilist account of knowledge designed to accomodate two anti-luck concerns: (i) if S knows some contingent proposition p, then S couldn't have easily been wrong about p; (ii) S's knowing some contingent proposition p amounts to an achievement for S such that S is creditworthy for knowing p.

I call (i) and (ii) "anti-luck" concerns because, if a belief is true in some relevant way because of (veritic) luck, neither (i) nor (ii) will be met.

My proposal incorporates a safety condition to meet (i), and outlines a way to preserve (ii) by requiring that creditworthiness depend in part on whether an agent’s exhibition of intellectual virtue is an explanatorily salient feature of her forming a safe belief, a matter that will itself depend on features of context in particular cases of inquiry.

Below is a link:


Please note: I'm wide open for advice (as this paper is currently only a rough manuscript); I'd prefer you don't quote unless checking with me, given that its current state is far from polished.

Feel free to send comments, criticisms, rants of ad hominem vitriol, etc. to: j.a.carter@stir.ac.uk


Sunday, November 12, 2006

VE and contextualism

I've been wondering whether a virtue-epistemologist can be a contextualist. Greco thinks so, and gives a case for this. His view, though, falls within the "virtue reliabilist" camp; I wonder what the prospects would be for a virtue responsibilist (specifically) to embrace contextualist semantics for "know." In his Stanford Encyclopedia entry on VE, Greco suggests that a virtue responsibilist account (namely, Zagzebski's) might be amenable to contextualist semantics by supposing that the "because" in her definition (i.e. the agent has to reach the end of the intellectually virtuous motive "because" of features of the act of virtue) could be understood as requiring stronger conditions in different contexts.

I'm not sure what to make of this claim; does anyone know of particularly good articles (aside from Greco's entry in 'Knowledge, Belief and Character) that shine light on the prospects of a virtue-responsibilist account being amenable to contextualist semantics?