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In what sense is understanding an intellectual virtue?

  • Xingming HuEmail author


In this paper, I distinguish between two senses of “understanding”: understanding as an epistemic good and understanding as a character trait or a distinctive power of the mind. I argue that understanding as a character trait or a distinctive power of the mind is an intellectual virtue while understanding as an epistemic good is not. Finally, I show how the distinction can help us better appreciate Aristotle’s account of intellectual virtue.


Understanding Grasp Intellectual virtue Epistemic value 



For comments on earlier drafts or conversations on related topics, I would like to thank Shuyi Feng, Stephen Grimm, Siyi Hu, Xuya Ma, Yue Wang, Ru Ye, and two anonymous reviewers. My work on this paper was supported by two programs of the National Social Science Fund of China: the Young Scholars Program [16CZX046] and the Major Program [18ZDA031].


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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