Volume 17, Issue 2, 2015
Creation, Causality, and Abstracta
Ross D. Inman
Epistemic Temperance and the Moral Perils of Intellectual Inquiry
An oft-repeated dictum in contemporary epistemology is that the epistemic goal minimally includes the acquisition of true beliefs and the avoidance of false beliefs. There is, however, a robust epistemological tradition in the Christian West that distinguishes between a virtuous and a vicious desire for and pursuit of cognitive contact with reality. The cognitive ideal for humans consists (in part) in epistemic temperance, an appetite for and pursuit of truth that is conducted in appropriate measure, and calibrated to appropriate objects and ends. Here I explore this rich Christian tradition with an eye toward its application to contemporary Christian philosophy.