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C. Recent Work in Applied Virtue Theory > 'Was Sir William Crookes Epistemically Virtuous?' (I.J. Kidd)

This is the abstract of a paper on applied virtue epistemology due for a conference and edited journal special issue entitled 'Psychical Research in the History of Medicine and the Sciences'.

The aim of this paper is to use Sir William Crookes’ researches into psychical phenomena as a sustained case study of the role of epistemic virtues within scientific enquiry. Despite growing interest in virtues in science, most existing studies have focused on cases of conventional science rather than controversial or ‘fringe’ science—like psychical research—where, one might suppose, certain epistemic virtues (like epistemic courage and epistemic humility) may be subjected to sterner tests. The paper has three parts. The first provides an account of the epistemic virtues that Crookes displayed during his researches into psychical phenomena. The second part examines the ways in which Crookes’ capacity to exercise certain epistemic virtues—especially epistemic courage—were enabled by his distinctive financial and professional situation (for instance, as a journal editor of independent financial means). The third part shows how Crookes incorporated epistemic virtues into his conception of the moral and social duties of the scientist. I conclude that Crookes’ researches into psychical phenomena offer instructive lessons for historians and philosophers of science and virtue epistemologists because they offer a rich account of the role of epistemic virtues sensitive to both the practice and context of scientific enquiry.
January 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterIan James Kidd
Ian's interesting paper is now available in the JB Library. Just click on the JB Library tab next to login, to find and download it.
August 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell