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Virtues of the Mind An Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge by Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

Virtues of the Mind An Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge


Virtues of the Mind An Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge by Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

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 remarkable book is the first attempt to establish a theory of knowledge based on the model of virtue theory in ethics. The book develops the concept of an intellectual virtue, and then shows how the concept can be used to give an account of the major concepts in epistemology, including the concept of knowledge. This highly original work of philosophy for professionals will also provide students with an excellent introduction to epistemology, virtue theory, and the relationship between ethics and epistemology.


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 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 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

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

13th September 1996


Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

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Cambridge University Press


384 pages


Ethics & moral philosophy



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