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Mon, 21 Nov

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Room 243

Matt Duncan (Rhode Island) For They Shall See Good: The Moral Virtues of Acquaintance

Time & Location

21 Nov 2022, 16:00 – 17:30

Room 243, Senate House, London WC1B, UK

Abstract

Are the smartest, most knowledgeable among us also the best among us?  Or are all the moral saints you know especially knowledgeable? Maybe  not. At first blush, it may not seem like there is any especially strong  connection between one’s moral and epistemic standing—between how good  one is and how knowledgeable one is. And yet, more than a few  influential philosophers say otherwise. They say there is some very  tight, very important connection between one’s moral and epistemic  standing. In this paper, I sympathetically examine various versions of  this claim. I start by clarifying the terrain and narrowing my focus to a  certain kind of epistemic trait--namely, first-personal awareness of,  or acquaintance with, goodness--and its relation to certain moral  traits. Then I assess several arguments that purport to establish a  connection between these traits. My goal is not to conclusively show  that there is a non-accidental, non-coincidental connection between a  person’s moral and epistemic character but rather to draw out and  discuss some of the appeal of this very old idea from a contemporary  perspective.

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