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Intellectual Virtue and Human Flourishing : An Explanation of the Intrinsic Value of the Intellectual Virtues


The intellectual virtues, excellent character traits as they concern the objects of epistemic concern, are usually thought to be intrinsically valuable or worth possessing in themselves because of the role they play in the human epistemic enterprise. Contemporary virtue epistemology, a branch of virtue theory that deals with epistemological issues, has had difficulty lately in explaining what makes the intellectual virtues intrinsically valuable. I argue that two of the primary reasons for this occurrence have to do with the fact that modern virtue epistemologists incorrectly try to utilize intellectual virtue for the sake of solving contemporary problems in the theory of knowledge in a manner that is not plausible, as well as the fact that they do not connect intellectual virtue to important supporting theoretical concepts, such as human flourishing, that ancient virtue theorists rely on in their exposition of virtue. In light of this, I look to Aristotle for inspiration in articulating what I term a eudaimonistic or Neo-Aristotelian virtue epistemology, one that explains the value of the intellectual virtues in a deep and systematic way by making a substantive connection between virtue and flourishing. In doing so, I ultimately defend the conclusion that intellectual virtue is intrinsically valuable because it is a partial constituent of a flourishing human life

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