David Bronstein (Georgetown): Aristotle's Virtue Epistemology
Aristotle's Virtue Epistemology
Neo-Aristotelian virtue theorists typically argue that acts get their moral and epistemic worth from the capacities from which they issue: an action is morally right because it issues from moral virtue; a true belief is justified, and counts as an instance of knowledge, because it issues from intellectual virtue. Some philosophers have recently argued that Aristotle is not a neo-Aristotelian virtue ethicist. In this paper I argue that he is not a neo-Aristotelian virtue epistemologist. This is because he reverses the direction of analysis common in contemporary virtue theories: it’s not that a cognitive act is knowledge because it issues from a capacity that constitutes an intellectual virtue; it’s rather that a capacity constitutes an intellectual virtue because it issues in cognitive acts that are knowledge. I argue that Aristotle’s ‘act-based’ virtue epistemology is an interesting alternative to current ‘agent-based’ views.