In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Virtue Epistemology

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Journal Issues
  • Precursors
  • Monographs
  • Taxonomies
  • Virtue Reliabilism and Responsibilism
  • Justification
  • Knowledge
  • Epistemic Value
  • Credit
  • Luck
  • Contextualism
  • Beyond Knowledge

Philosophy Virtue Epistemology
John Turri, Ernest Sosa
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 September 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 10 May 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0123


Virtue epistemologists deploy the resources of virtue theory to explain epistemological properties and concepts, just as virtue ethicists do for ethical properties and concepts. Virtue epistemologists claim a great many virtues for their approach, including the ability to bypass longstanding debates, answer perennial epistemological questions, solve epistemological puzzles, provide an elegant and principled account of epistemic value, and broaden epistemology’s scope.

General Overviews

There are several excellent surveys of the burgeoning field of virtue epistemology. Baehr 2004 and Greco 2004 are both excellent and freely available online. Axtell 1997 is a bit dated but still useful. Battaly 2008 not only surveys the field but also advances the debate in several areas. Zagzebski 1998 highlights potential cross-fertilization with virtue ethics and social epistemology. There are also three reputable blogs that are either devoted to virtue epistemology or frequently cover it and related topics. JanusBlog covers virtue theory in epistemology and ethics. Epistemic Value covers many topics relevant to virtue epistemology. Certain Doubts is a general epistemology blog.

  • Axtell, Guy. “Recent Work on Virtue Epistemology.” American Philosophical Quarterly 34.1 (1997): 1–26.

    Well done, though dated. Introduces the distinction between virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism.

  • Baehr, Jason. “Virtue Epistemology.” In The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser and Bradley Dowden. 2004.

    An excellent survey of the field, freely available online. Baehr nicely distinguishes virtue reliabilism from virtue responsibilism, offers a balanced assessment of their respective merits and demerits, and suggests some ways of overcoming or transcending the divide.

  • Battaly, Heather. “Virtue Epistemology.” Philosophy Compass 3.4 (2008): 639–663.

    Very well written and extremely informative, this survey also advances the debate. Battaly helpfully distinguishes virtue theory from virtue “anti-theory.”

  • Certain Doubts.

    A general epistemology weblog administered by Jonathan Kvanvig, this site often contains discussion of virtue epistemology and closely related issues.

  • Epistemic Value.

    Administered by Duncan Pritchard and nominally devoted to epistemic value, this blog covers topics relevant to virtue epistemology.

  • Greco, John. “Virtue Epistemology.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2004.

    Another excellent overview of the field, freely available online. It organizes the literature around Sosa’s initial proposal, the development of Sosa’s views, and reactions thereto. Greco identifies the distinguishing characteristic of virtue epistemology as a commitment to a direction of analysis, namely by explaining beliefs’ epistemic properties in terms of agents’ properties.

  • Janus Blog.

    Administered by Guy Axtell and devoted to virtue theory, including ethics and epistemology. Announcements of conferences, calls for papers, funding opportunities, and drafts of work in progress are often posted, making this online source a good way to keep up with trends in the field.

  • Zagzebski, Linda. “Virtue Epistemology.” In The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 9. Edited by Edward Craig. London: Routledge, 1998.

    A perspicuous survey by a leader in the field. Emphasizes parallels with ethics, the motivation for a shift to virtue epistemology, important differences among different approaches within the virtue camp, and the potentially fruitful integration of virtue epistemology with projects in social epistemology. Available online by subscription.

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