The Social Contexts of Intellectual Virtue: Knowledge as a Team Achievement, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Social Contexts of Intellectual Virtue

Knowledge as a Team Achievement, 1st Edition

By Adam Green


246 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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This book reconceives virtue epistemology in light of the conviction that we are essentially social creatures. Virtue is normally thought of as something that allows individuals to accomplish things on their own. Although contemporary ethics is increasingly making room for an inherently social dimension in moral agency, intellectual virtues continue to be seen in terms of the computing potential of a brain taken by itself. Thinking in these terms, however, seriously misconstrues the way in which our individual flourishing hinges on our collective flourishing.

Green’s account of virtue epistemology is based on the extended credit view, which conceives of knowledge as an achievement and broadens that focus to include team achievements in addition to individual ones. He argues that this view does a better job than alternatives of answering the many conceptual and empirical challenges for virtue epistemology that have been based on cases of testimony. The view also allows for a nuanced interaction with situationist psychology, dual processing models in cognitive science, and the extended mind literature in philosophy of mind. This framework provides a useful conceptual bridge between individual and group epistemology, and it has novel applications to the epistemology of disagreement, prejudice, and authority.


"Adam Green thinks that taking a more social perspective will produce a richer and more plausible version of virtue epistemology—one that can avoid various objections to credit views of knowledge and that can deepen our understanding of both epistemic injustice and the problem of disagreement … It is an excellent, interesting, and fruitful defense of a credit view of knowledge as well as a valuable contribution to our understanding of how social factors affect knowledge." -- Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Table of Contents

1. The Basic Challenge and Basic View

2. Role-Based Normativity

3. Empirical Challenges for Testimony

4. Situationism, Heuristics, and a Broader Empirical Challenge

5. Kinds of Credit

6. The Ability Condition

7. Socially Distributed Cognition

8. Authority and Injustice

9. When Social Creatures Disagree


Appendix --Environmental Luck

About the Author

Adam Green is an assistant professor of philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. His work ranges over epistemology, the philosophy and cognitive science of religion, and philosophical psychology. His previous work on social epistemology has appeared in American Philosophical Quarterly, Synthese, Episteme, and Philosophical Explorations.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Epistemology
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy