In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Epistemic Virtues

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Textbooks and Handbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Monographs
  • Special Journal Issues
  • Internalist and Externalist Theories of Epistemic Virtues
  • The Nature of Epistemic Virtues
  • Epistemic Vice
  • Specific Epistemic Vices
  • Social Epistemic Virtues
  • Epistemic Virtues in Professional Practice

Philosophy Epistemic Virtues
Benjamin McCraw
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 November 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0432


Broadly, virtues are excellences. Applied to epistemology, then, virtues are excellences of epistemic agents, thinkers, or cognizers. As virtue epistemology has risen to prominence in the past several decades, virtue-theoretic approaches to epistemology have become numerous, systematic, and diverse. Accordingly, the work on epistemic virtues and vices, the focus of such approaches, has blossomed in number, extent, and diversity. This bibliography will cover a range of central issues in the philosophical reflection on epistemic virtues and vices, and lay out some of the central views, monographs, edited collections, and articles in the field. Two main approaches to the nature of epistemic virtue have come to occupy central roles: views that take something like skills, abilities, or competences as definitive of epistemic virtues, and theories that analyze epistemic virtues as kinds of intellectual traits of character. Another central debate concerns the relation of epistemic virtues to the wider debate in epistemology regarding internalism and externalism on positive epistemic status. As with the advent of any significant family of philosophical theory, objections will soon be levied against it. In particular, worries extended from the situationist challenge to moral virtues and concerns about epistemic luck and credit have become major players in the literature on virtue epistemology. This bibliography will also devote extensive discussion to specific epistemic virtues, as work on them has boomed relatively recently in step with work on epistemic virtue in general. Two more recent discussions—on vice epistemology and social epistemic virtue—will also merit their own sections. Finally, this bibliography will discuss the applications of epistemic virtues, both within different branches of philosophy and in other professional fields outside of it.

General Overviews

There have been several good overviews of work on epistemic virtues, occurring at various historical points in the field’s development. Earlier works like Axtell 1997 and Greco 1993 lay out the foundational terms, issues, and debates from which virtue epistemology has sprung. More recently, Turri, et al. 2021 provides a comprehensive overview of the field. Baehr 2004 also provides a noteworthy Internet resource. Other overviews appear in reference works. Axtell 2010 and Kvanvig 2011 are shorter entries on virtue epistemology in large companion works. Greco 2002 is a longer work in another anthology of general overviews of epistemological positions and topics. Battaly and Slote 2015 lays out virtue epistemology set in the broader context of work on virtue theoretical philosophy encompassing ethics and numerous other normative fields. Battaly 2008 is an overview article on the nature, aims, and prospects of virtue epistemology.

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

    A landmark and much-cited overview of virtue epistemology. This work popularized the “reliabilist” and “responsibilist” distinction and gives a comprehensive, even if by now dated, outline of the theoretical terrain in virtue epistemology.

  • Axtell, Guy. “Epistemic Virtues.” In A Companion to Epistemology. 2d ed. Edited by Jonathan Dancy, Ernest Sosa, and Matthias Steup, 343–347. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    A brief but wide-ranging overview of many of the central debates and commitments in virtue epistemology.

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

    A quality overview of virtue epistemology from one of the central virtue epistemologists. It focuses on the responsibilist/reliabilist debate regarding epistemic virtues.

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

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00146.x

    An excellent, systematic overview of virtue epistemology. The piece lays out the history of the approach as well as the major players in the debates. Of particular note is Battaly’s discussion of how virtue epistemologists have given (varied) responses to key objections. The bibliography is wide-ranging and helpful.

  • Battaly, Heather, and Michael Slote. “Virtue Epistemology and Virtue Ethics.” In The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics. Edited by Lorraine Besser-Jones and Michae Slote, 253–269. New York: Routledge, 2015.

    The authors offer a brief layout of virtue epistemology, focusing on the responsibilist/reliabilist distinction and the field’s historical roots in Aristotle. The chapter ends by discussing how epistemic virtues diverge from moral virtues and the prospects of a sentimentalist virtue epistemology.

  • Greco, John. “Virtues and Vices of Virtue Epistemology.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23.3 (1993): 413–432.

    DOI: 10.1080/00455091.1993.10717329

    A critical overview of the prospects for virtue epistemology in light of objections. Greco argues that virtue epistemology has the resources to respond adequately to these objections. Though somewhat dated now, the article gives insight into how virtue epistemologists developed the approach to meet various epistemological worries.

  • Greco, John. “Virtues in Epistemology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Edited by Paul K. Moser, 287–315. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1093/0195130057.003.0010

    A systematic overview of virtue epistemology. It focuses on the historical development of virtue epistemology, arising from Sosa’s early work, and how virtue epistemology treats core epistemological debates, such as defining knowledge, skepticism, the Gettier problem, and the value problem.

  • Kvanvig, Jonathan L. “Virtue Epistemology.” In The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Edited by Sven Bernecker and Duncan Pritchard, 199–207. New York: Routledge, 2011.

    A brief but broad look at the history of virtue epistemology, its role in epistemology, and potential difficulties for the approach.

  • Turri, John, Mark Alfano, and John Greco. “Virtue Epistemology.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2021.

    A comprehensive and systematic overview of virtue epistemology. It covers a wide array of topics central and adjacent to virtue epistemology. The bibliography is excellent and provides a good resource for finding other works on epistemic virtue.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.