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Virtues of the Mind: An Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy) Paperback – September 13, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0521578264 ISBN-10: 0521578264

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Zagzebski's book brims with acute observations and is written in such a way that even those not trained in analytic philosophy will find it an enjoyable read. Her focus on the virtues leads her to avoid a style of philosphy that endlessly h=generates counterexamples and engages in barren possible-worlds speculation. Zagzebski brings the resources of premodern philosophy to bear on contemporary issues and opens up a line of inquiry that could prove as fruitful for epistemology as it already has for ethics. Throughout the book, she notes that this is a large project and invites the assistance of others. It is an invitation Thomists would do well to accept." Thomas S. Hibbs, The Thomist

"The book is clearly written and highly original, and it reveals an impressive familiarity with sources both classical and contemporary. It should be in every university library." H. Pospesel, Choice

"...it is hard to imagine anyone leaving this book without having been moved to new reflections upon epistemological and ethical issue." Douglas J. Den Uyl, Review of Metaphysics

"...anyone interested in the epistemological status of religious claims cannot afford not to read this book. Zagzebski's book is an important resource for further investigations of the interrelationship between those issues." Alex Hawkins, Modern Theology

"...an impressive attempt to understand some of the main problems of epistemology...." James A. Montmarquet, Ethics

"In Virtues of the Mind, Linda Zagzebski has set forth what is probably, to date, the most systematic account and defence of virtue epistemology." Dialogue

"Zagzebski offers exemplary scholarship, illuminating analyses, well-reasoned argument, and provocative new lines of thought. Virtues of the Mind deserves the attention of anyone and everyone interested in either ethics or epistemology. It is a work of intellectual virtue." Casey Swank, The Philosophical Review

Book Description

Almost all theories of knowledge and justified belief employ moral concepts and forms of argument borrowed from moral theories, but none of them pay attention to the current renaissance in virtue ethics. This work is the first attempt to establish a theory of knowledge based on the model of virtue theory.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 13, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521578264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521578264
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark Silcox on May 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are all sorts of excellent reasons why any analytic philosopher should read this book. It's the locus classicus for an important new approach in epistemology - the doctrine, that is, that knowledge should be defined in terms of the traits of character involved in its acquisition, rather that by genus and difference (in the way that it has usually been since Plato) as a sub-class of true beliefs distinguishable by virtue of their justificatory status. It also contains a very interesting, synoptic discussion of the concept of virtue itself, and its significance and usefulness in ethics as well as epistemology. Finally, Zagzebski is an enormously well-read and engaging writer - she has remarkable breadth of learning for a contemporary analytic philosopher, and a talent for placing enormously diverse sources (from medieval philosophy to literary fiction to the ideas of some of the most obscure and demanding contemporary philosophers) onto the same chessboard. This makes the book an uncommonly pleasurable read for anyone interested in the issues she discusses.
Does she make a convincing case for so-called "virtue epistemology?" Not even close, in my books - her solution to the famous Gettier problem for traditional definitions of knowledge depends upon a distinction between the acts performed by virtuous people and what she calls "acts of virtue" that seemed to me to be more or less entirely spurious and ad hoc. But I got so much other stuff out of the book that by the end I didn't even care all that much about this relatively minor flaw.
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Virtues of the Mind: An Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy)
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