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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Virtue-Theoretic Account of the Epistemic Effects of Social Location
by Hyde, Krista, Ph.D., Saint Louis University, 2017, 341; 10640630
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation aims to provide a virtue reliabilist account of the epistemic effects of social location. I use a reliabilist theory of virtue epistemology as a framework for understanding the epistemic effects of social marginalization and privilege.

To do so, I describe how marginalization and privilege affect social cognition. I argue that social cognition is underwritten by various social cognitive capacities, some of which can and do qualify as intellectual virtues. Understanding these capacities as virtues elucidates how epistemic benefits and harms accrue to agents as a result of identity and associated social status.

Additionally, I argue that drawing on an information economy framework illuminates the epistemic effects of social location on groups. Specifically, I use John Greco’s distinction between transmission and generation, two functions of knowledge with distinct epistemic norms, to explain how structural marginalization and privilege work to influence the movement of knowledge into, within, and among marginalized and privileged epistemic communities.

Finally, I describe the relationship of the virtues to knowledge justification. In simplified terms, I argue that knowledge demands both reliability and responsibility. Responsibility involves those dispositions an agent manifests when sensitive to the reliability of the evidence for her beliefs. Such sensitivity takes environment into account, and for humans, that environment is generally social. So, I argue that responsibility involves sensitivity to the social nature of human knowledge. I explain what the relationship between types of virtues means for the epistemic effects of social location, and how that relationship suggests potential correctives to some epistemic harms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Greco, John
Commitee: Fricker, Miranda, Stump, Eleonore, Weiss, Penny
School: Saint Louis University
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Epistemology, Philosophy, Womens studies
Keywords: Epistemic injustice, Epistemology, Reliabilism, Social, Standpoint, Virtue
Publication Number: 10640630
ISBN: 978-0-355-61622-4
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