The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 47, Issue 1, Spring 2009

Sarah Wright
Pages 91-112

The Proper Structure of the Intellectual Virtues

If we adopt a virtue approach to epistemology, what form should the intellectual virtues take? In this paper, I argue that the proper structure of the intellectual virtues should be one that follows the tradition of internalism in epistemology. I begin by giving a general characterization of virtue epistemology and then define internalism within that framework. Arguing for internalism, I first consider the thought experiment of the new evil demon and show how externalist accounts of intellectual virtue, though constructed to accommodate our intuitions in such cases, cannot fully do so. I further argue that only adopting an internalist structure of the virtues will provide intellectual virtues that appropriately mirror the structure of the classical moral virtues. Finally, I argue that only an internalist structure of the virtues can explain why the intellectual virtues are valuable in themselves.