Intellectual Virtue and the Good: A Theory Concerning the Constitutive Value of Intellectual Character

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Title: Intellectual Virtue and the Good: A Theory Concerning the Constitutive Value of Intellectual Character
Authors: Young, Mark Christopher
Date: 2010
Abstract: The focus of this thesis is to offer a theory of the constitutive value of intellectual character due to its transformative influence. The specific transformative influence ascribed to intellectual character is that it counteracts self-deceptive mechanisms and disposes agents to obtain true beliefs and to avoid false beliefs. The true beliefs such character reliably produces are accurate representations, and not merely of empirical inputs but also conceptual schemes. Agents do not appear to require such accurate representations to fulfill various desires, or to achieve certain aspects of mental, social and physical well-being as identified by some psychologists. Consequently, agents do not require intellectual character to achieve a variety of things some have identified as good. Nonetheless, a distinction can be made between achieving the good and identifying the good, and it can also be acknowledged that the good is itself a matter of dispute. That is, there are a number of competing notions of the good, which appear to be influenced by various conceptual schemes, and this makes the identification of the good difficult. Intellectual character can fulfill a valuable role in the attempt to settle such disputes through its ability to facilitate true beliefs concerning the good. In fact, intellectual character is necessary to assure agents that their beliefs concerning the good are true due to the imperceptible mechanisms of self-deception. This assurance is itself valuable for any agent who wants to identify the good due to the indispensable role of true belief in attempts to identify the good. Even further, identification of the good is valuable for any agent who wants to achieve the good, since the attempt to identify the good better facilitates achievement of the good. Consequently, the assurance that intellectual character is necessary for is valuable for agents who both want to identify and achieve the good, and for this reason such character is constitutively valuable.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30077
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-20067
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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