Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 59-71

First online:

Rational Passions and Intellectual Virtues, A Conceptual Analysis

  • Jan SteutelAffiliated withDepartment of Education, Free University
  • , Ben SpeickerAffiliated withDepartment of Education, Free University

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Intellectual virtues like open-mindedness, clarity, intellectual honesty and the willingness to participate in rational discussions, are conceived as important aims of education. In this paper an attempt is made to clarify the specific nature of intellectual virtues. Firstly, the intellectual virtues are systematically compared with moral virtues. The upshot is that considering a trait of character to be an intellectual virtue implies assuming that such a trait can be derived from, or is a specification of, the cardinal virtue of concern and respect for truth. Secondly, several (possible) misconceptions of intellectual virtues are avoided by making the required distinctions. For example, it is argued that our concept of an intellectual virtue should not be confused with a normative conception of intellectual virtuousness.