Virtue Epistemology Naturalized

Volume 366 of the series Synthese Library pp 207-226


Is There a Place for Epistemic Virtues in Theory Choice?

  • Milena IvanovaAffiliated withDepartment of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney Email author 

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This paper challenges the appeal to theory virtues in theory choice as well as the appeal to the intellectual and moral virtues of an agent as determining unique choices between empirically equivalent theories. After arguing that theoretical virtues do not determine the choice of one theory at the expense of another theory, I argue that nor does the appeal to intellectual and moral virtues single out one agent, who defends a particular theory, and exclude another agent defending an alternative theory. I analyse Duhem’s concept of good sense and its recent interpretation in terms of virtue epistemology. I argue that the virtue epistemological interpretation does not show how good sense leads to conclusive choices and scientific progress.