Sarah Wright is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Georgia. In addition to virtue epistemology, she writes and teaches in general epistemology, cognitive science, and environmental ethics. She has published in Midwest Studies in Philosophy and has a forthcoming article in Metaphilosophy.
The Proper Structure of the Intellectual Virtues
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2010
2009 The University of Memphis
The Southern Journal of Philosophy
Volume 47, Issue 1, pages 91–112, Spring 2009
How to Cite
Wright, S. (2009), The Proper Structure of the Intellectual Virtues. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 47: 91–112. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2009.tb00133.x
- Issue published online: 2 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 2 MAR 2010
If we adopt a virtue approach to epistemology, what form should the intellectual virtues take? In this paper, I argue that the proper structure of the intellectual virtues should be one that follows the tradition of internalism in epistemology. I begin by giving a general characterization of virtue epistemology and then define internalism within that framework. Arguing for internalism, I first consider the thought experiment of the new evil demon and show how externalist accounts of intellectual virtue, though constructed to accommodate our intuitions in such cases, cannot fully do so. I further argue that only adopting an internalist structure of the virtues will provide intellectual virtues that appropriately mirror the structure of the classical moral virtues. Finally, I argue that only an internalist structure of the virtues can explain why the intellectual virtues are valuable in themselves.