- My Evidentialist Epistemology
- Onto-Relationships and Epistemology
- Why Plantinga’s Warrant Cannot Circumvent the Gettier Problem
- A General Rule for Gettier Cases
- Empiricism and Being in the Right Phenomenological Frame of Mind
- Meet Philosopher Linda Zagzebski
- The Connection Between Phenomenology and Existentialism
- A Response to Alvin Plantinga’s “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology”
- Alex Rosenberg on Whether Philosophy Emerges from Science
- Steven Wykstra’s “Toward a Sensible Evidentialism: ‘On the Notion of Needing Evidence.'”
- Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Epistemology
- New Paper: “Epistemological Scientific Realism and the Onto-Relationship of Inferentially Justified and Non-Inferentially Justified Beliefs”
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The University of Oklahoma philosopher Linda Zagzebski is a leading epistemologist in the field of virtue ethics. Virtue epistemology is an attempt at unifying virtue ethics; Zagzebski takes the Aristotelian approach, by combining it with historical or cognitive psychology in its approach to knowledge. Zagzebski is a virtue-responsibilitist, which is an internalist model and includes traits such as open-mindedness and concern when it comes to epistemic endeavors. There is a rejection of Quine’s naturalized epistemology though it still permits empiricism as a means of belief formation.
Zagzebski argues for a direction of analysis thesis, a unified account of the intellectual and moral virtues, a neo-Aristotelian approach. She suggests, that by virtue theory that makes the concept of a right act derivative from the concept of a virtue or some inner state of a person that is a component of virtue. This is a point both about conceptual priority and about moral ontology. In a pure virtue theory the concept of a right act is defined in terms of the concept of a virtue or a component of virtue such as motivation. The property of rightness is something that emerges from the inner traits of persons. The entire epistemological task is thus approached with this ethical theory overlaying each epistemic consideration.
Alvin Plantinga’s notion of warrant (justification) is a form of externalism (reliablism).
[A] belief has warrant only if it is produced by cognitive faculties that are functioning properly in an appropriate environment. Plantinga’s notion of proper function, moreover, implies the existence of a design plan, and a belief’s having warrant requires that the segment of the design plan governing the production of the belief is aimed at truth. In addition, the design plan must be a good one in the sense that the objective probability of the belief’s being true (given that it’s produced in accordance with the design plan) must be high.
However, Plantinga does not avoid the Gettier problem. The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge ([K], if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false.
The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge (if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false. For example, I leave my keys in my jacket pocket hanging over the back of the kitchen chair. While I’m away, my wife comes around and picks up my jacket to throw it in the wash. Noticing that my keys are in my jacket pocket she thinks I’ll probably be heading out to soon since I didn’t hang up my jacket and put my keys in their respective places. She then places my keys back in my jacket and my jacket back over the chair where they were before. When I return do I have knowledge that my keys are in my jacket? That’s the issue. Do I believe my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Is it true my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Am I justified in believing this? Well… probably not since the reason why the keys are actually there are not the reason why I believe they’re there. Thus, I have no justification for believing this even though I do believe it and it happens to be true.