, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 113-126

How Boots Befooled the King: Wisdom, Truth, and the Stoics

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Abstract

Can the wise person be fooled? The Stoics take a very strong view on this question, holding that the wise person (or sage) is never deceived and never believes anything that is false. This seems to be an implausibly strong claim, but it follows directly from some basic tenets of the Stoic cognitive and psychological world-view. In developing an account of what wisdom really requires, I will explore the tenets of the Stoic view that lead to this infallibilism about wisdom, and show that many of the elements of the Stoic picture can be preserved in a more plausible fallibilist approach. Specifically, I propose to develop a Stoic fallibilist virtue epistemology that is based on the Stoic model of the moral virtues. This model of the intellectual virtues will show that (in keeping with a folk distinction) the wise person is never befooled, though that person might be fooled.