“Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology”

in H. Battaly (ed.) Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic. Oxford: Wiley/Broadview Press, 2010: 73-94.

Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the “generality problem” for virtue epistemologies and the “global trait problem” for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. Beyond the aporia of character-trait ascription and between the Scylla and Charybdis that virtue theories are faced with in each field of philosophy, we find our passage by making full and explicit use of the “narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription,” and by accounting for the various uses of it in an inquiry-pragmatist account. In virtue theories informed by inquiry pragmatism, the agential habits and abilities deemed salient in explanations/evaluations of agents in particular cases, and the determination of the relevant domains and conditions that an agent’s habit or ability is reliably efficacious in, is determined by pragmatic concerns related to our evaluative epistemic practices.

(My publication)Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 by gsaxtell
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