Epistemic Situationism

ISBN : 9780199688234

Abrol Fairweather; Mark Alfano
272 ページ
153 x 234 mm

This volume is the first sustained examination of epistemic situationism: the clash between virtue epistemology and the situationist hypothesis inspired by research in empirical psychology. Situationism began as a challenge to the psychology of character traits, targeting ethical theories that presuppose a trait psychology. Psychological research suggests that (often trivial) environmental variables have greater explanatory power than character traits. Epistemology pursues questions about the nature of knowledge. While there are internal differences within virtue epistemology between responsibilists and reliabilists, they all analyze knowledge in terms of epistemic virtues and vices. However, despite promising normative results, virtue epistemology appears to assume the same character-based psychology as virtue ethics does. Until recently, virtue epistemology and situationism were separate literatures, but philosophers have begun to examine the apparent incompatibility between situationist psychology and virtue epistemology. Much of the psychological research that raises questions about the empirical adequacy of the moral psychology of virtue ethics also appears to raise doubts about the empirical adequacy of the epistemic psychology assumed by virtue epistemology. Responsibilist virtue epistemology appears particularly vulnerable because epistemic virtues like open mindedness, conscientiousness and intellectual courage are traits of intellectual character, but reliabilist virtue epistemology appeals to the psychology of cognitive skills, abilities, and competences that may be similarly vulnerable. The essays in this volume take up this new problem of epistemic situationism from multiple points of view - some sceptical or revisionary, others conservative.


Introduction: Epistemic Situationism, Abrol Fairweather
1: Is Every Epistemology A Virtue Epistemology?, Lauren Olin
2: Epistemic Situationism: An extended prolepsis, Mark Alfano
3: 1. Virtue Epistemology in the Zombie Apocalypse: Hungry Judges, Heavy Clipboards and Group Polarization, Berit Brogaard
4: Situationism and Responsibilist Virtue Epistemology, James Montmarquet
5: Virtue Theory Against Situationism, Ernest Sosa
6: Intellectual Virtue Now and Again, Chris Lepock
7: Responsibilism Out of Character, Kurt Sylvan
8: Epistemic Situationism and Cognitive Ability, John Turri
9: Epistemic Situationism, Epistemic Dependence and the Epistemology of Education, J. Adam Carter and Duncan Pritchard
10: The Situationist Challenge to Educating For Intellectual Virtues, Jason Baehr
11: Feminist Responsibilism, Situationism and the Complexities of the Virtue of Trustworthiness, Heidi Grasswick
12: Moods and Their Unexpected Virtues, Nicole Smith


Abrol Fairweather is a lecturer in the philosophy department at San Francisco State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition to multiple articles, Abrol has edited four collections of papers related to virtue epistemology and intellectual virtue, including Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue (CUP, 2014) with Owen Flanagan. His forthcoming book Knowledge and Dexterity (CUP, 2016) is co-authored with Carlos Montemayor and defends a theory epistemic agency utilizing recent research in the psychology of attention.; Mark Alfano is associate professor of philosophy at Delft University of Technology. He received a doctorate from the Philosophy Program of the City University of New York Graduate Center (CUNY GC) in 2011, and he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton University Center for Human Values, as well as assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon. Mark works on moral psychology, broadly construed to include ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology. He also maintains an interest in Nietzsche, focusing on Nietzsche's psychological views.