Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 83, Issue 1, July 2011

Pages 106-128

Unifying the Intellectual Virtues

The intellectual virtues include two seemingly quite different types of traits: reliable faculties on the one hand and inquiry-regulating traits of intellectual character like conscientiousness and openmindedness on the other. Extant virtue theories do not appear to have provided a single account that adequately covers both types of virtue. In this paper, I examine the different ways in which a trait or disposition can contribute to our cognitive goal of acquiring significant true beliefs. I propose that the two types of virtues can be understood as contributing in different ways to our cognitive goal, and develop a general framework for understanding their value.