A forum for VE lucubration

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Exhibitions of Virtue: what are they?

Suppose I want to figure out whether my true belief was because of my exhibition of intellectual virtue. A prominent recent view claims that I'd need to figure out whether my cognitive abilities are salient in explaining my cognitive success. Now I know what needs explained here-- my getting a true belief--but what exactly would be doing the explaining were it that I was a knower. The physical event that would be whatever I do to 'exhibit' intellectual virtue? Would it be a mental event-- my manifesting virtue? Would it be a combination of both?


Anonymous Georgi said...

Hi Adam,

Great question, as ever.
Below I argue that the word "exhibition" ought to be replaced by "manifestation". Then I give an outline of what I think this "manifestation event" is.

Exhibiting is a bit of misleading word. S can only exhibit x if either

i.) S intends to display something (it might be that noone observes it) e.g S hangs her paintings in a gallery, but no one goes.

or ii.) there is an audience/observer. (S might not have intended to display anything) e.g S exhibits

I don't think you can exhibit something without satisfying i or ii (intention or audience)

But Intellectual Virtue can cause/explain true belief without i or ii being satisfied. Maybe no one observed that your epistemic virtues caused a true belief. Maybe you didn't intend make a display of your epistemic virtues as you formed the TB.

So exhbit is the wrong word. Let's pick another...

...knowledge is true belief because of a manifestation of intellectual virtues...

Sounds promising... but what does it mean?

Let's look at what is being manifested. An intellectual virtue is an ability/character trait, with which you engage epistemically with the world.

I think "a manifestation of Intellectual Virtue" is the right term only if it means something like:

"the epistemic ability/virtue was present, but dormant, in the agent's cognitive character. In the epistemic environment, the agent used that ability to engage epistemically with the world, (not necessarily an intentional use)"

So the explanans (the "manifestation of IV") is when a dormant intellectual ability is used to gain true beliefs about the world.

Is manifestation the right word? (I rather like the word flowering, "a flowering of intellectual virtue"...)


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