Challenges to Virtue Perspectivism

  • Michael G. Harvey
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Electrical and Computer Engineering book series (BRIEFSELECTRIC)


A 2-level basic knowledge structure is based on a distinction between animal knowledge and reflective knowledge, and a corresponding distinction between competences that are not reason-based such as basic trust and competences that are reason-based such as intellectual virtues. Whereas the first type of competence aims to stop the infinite regress of sources or bases for our beliefs, the second type of competence aims to avoid vicious circularity through having an endorsing perspective on our animal competences. To avoid the infinite regress and vicious circularity, this perspective must be comprised of explicit beliefs that are better justified than the implicit beliefs from which they are derived, and the implicit beliefs must be formed non-rationally. These problems remain, however, because there is no clear distinction between animal or unreflective knowledge and reflective knowledge. A 3-level basic knowledge structure is based on an additional distinction between pre-reflective epistemic states (reactions) and unreflective epistemic states (implicit beliefs) at the level of animal knowledge. This distinction allows us to interpret basic trust as a source rather than basis for knowledge that is rooted in pre-reflective reactions that are part of our first nature.


Virtue Ethic Natural Reaction Intellectual Virtue Animal Knowledge Infinite Regress 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins UniversityPittsburghUSA

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