Thursday, July 6, 2017

Intellectual Virtues - Zagzebski

(Originally written December 3, 2006)

Virtues of the Mind
Linda Zagzebski

4: The two components of intellectual virtues

Each virtue is definable only in terms of its corresponding motivation.

4.1 The motivation for knowledge and reliable success

A distinction between moral and intellectual virtues can be made on their motivational basis.

Intellectual virtues are motivated by motivation for knowledge.

4.1.1 The motivation for knowledge

Hobbes and Spinoza connected the intellectual virtues with the passions and connected them all with a single motivation: self-preservation or power.

The motivation for knowledge is not a basic motive, it is a form of the motivation for power (Hobbes).

Hobbes states that cognitive virtues/vices arise from differences in motivation.

Deficiency in the desire for truth leads to cognitive vices like dogmatism (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

Hobbes implies that excess in desire for truth also leads to cognitive vices.

John Dewey believes that we ought to cultivate attitudes to foster better motivation to think more effectively.

Hilary Kornblith and Laurence BonJour introduced a motivational element into the notion of epistemic responsibility. Kornbluth stated, "An epistemically responsible agent desires to have true beliefs, and thus desires to have his beliefs produced by processes which lead to true beliefs, his actions are guided by these desires" (Zagzebski, 174).

James Montmarquet connected a large set of intellectual virtues with the desire for truth.

Montmarquet calls the desire for truth "epistemic conscientiousness" and claims that some intellectual virtues are out of this desire.

4.1.2 The success component of the intellectual virtues.

Ok, it's 2:30 am. I have a 1500-2000 word essay due at 9:00 am on pgs. 232-282. I'm on page 176. I'm screwed. I had such an emotional drain. I lost my wedding ring and then we spent hours looking for it. Thank God somebody found it.

Contemporary epistemology has focused extensively on the concept of a truth conducive belief-forming process.

There is a weak connection between motive and success. John Dewey made notice of it.

Intellectual virtues arise from and serve the motivation to know the truth and are crucial in activities like the arts, crafts and games.

The distinction between intellectual and moral virtues and the distinction between intellectual and practical virtues are both artificial.

Amelie Rarty pointed out that the utility and success of intellectual virtues depend on their becoming habits, but habits can become pathological and idiotic.

The motivation for intellectual virtue involves a desire for possessing true beliefs and avoiding false beliefs.

The reliabilist theory of truth-conduciveness focuses on it as a function of the number of true beliefs and on the proportion of true to false beliefs.

Zagzebski points out that processes that put forth a high percentage of false beliefs can still be truth-conducive if that process leads to a new way of discovering truth.

Self-correction is essential in Zagzebski's truth-conduciveness theory.

C.S. Pierce claims that the Scientific Method operates under a truth-conducive theory similar to Zagzebski's model.

4.1.3 Montmarquet on the virtues and truth conduciveness

Are intellectual virtues knowledge conducive?

"The motivation to know leads to the motivation to act in intellectually virtuous ways" (Zagzebski, 185).

Montmarquet objects to [the motion that intellectual virtues are truth conducive and intellectual vices are not] because:
1) Some intellectual virtues may not be truth conducive even though they would be desired by persons who love the truth
2) Some intellectual virtues not only seem to fail to lead to truth but aren't associated with the desire for truth
3) The history of ideas does not fit with this
4) some vices may arise out of desire for knowledge
5) Some intellectual vices appear to be truth conducive

I'm going to skip to what I need right now. Pg. 187-231 need to be read still.

pg 232 - This is a quick, not through reading

6. The definition of Deontic Concepts

Acts and beliefs arise from moral and intellectual traits

An act is right because it is the sort of act a virtuous person might do according to pure virtue-theory.

6.1 Right acts, justified beliefs

"A right act is what a person who is virtuously motivated, and who has the understanding of the particular situation that a virtuous person would have, might do in like circumstances. A wrong act is what a person who is virtuously motivated, and who has the understanding of the particular situation that a virtuous person would have, would not do in like circumstances. A moral duty is what a person who is virtuously motivated and who has the understanding of the particular situation that a virtuous person would have, would do in like circumstances. That is to say, some thing is a duty if and only if it is wrong not to do it" (Zagzebski, 235)

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