PHILOSOPHICAL SITUATIONISM AND THE VICIOUS MINDS HYPOTHESIS (pages 7-39)

Guy AXTELL

ABSTRACT: This paper provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Mark Alfano’s challenges to them based on his theses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of cognitive success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between virtue epistemologies qua credit theories, and dual-process theories in cognitive psychology. It also provides a response to Lauren Olin and John Doris’ ‘vicious minds’ thesis, and their ‘tradeoff problem’ for virtue theories. A genuine convergence between virtue epistemology and dual-process theory is called for, while acknowledging that this effort may demand new and more empirically well-informed projects on both sides of the division between Conservative virtue epistemology (including the credit theory of knowing) and Autonomous virtue epistemology (including projects for providing guidance to epistemic agents).

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