F. Character & Social/Cognitive/Moral Psychology > Axtell on "Thinking Twice about Virtue and Vice: From Epistemic Situationism to Dual Process Theories" (draft discussion paper)

I have uploaded my complete paper to JB Library. A shortened version is intended for 2014 in Mark Alfano and Abrol Fairweather (eds.) Epistemic Situationism (OUP). But this is the FULL (long) paper. (or e-mail me for direct attachment

Abstract. Epistemic situationists (Alfano; Doris and Olin) urge that concerns about the empirical adequacy of different versions of virtue epistemology are to be judged in light of the situationsts’ own interpretations of social psychological studies. But these concerns, while real, should instead be judged by the consistency of virtue epistemologies with the leading psychological theory emerging from studies of heuristics and biases, which is not epistemic situationism, but rather dual process theory (Evans; Kahneman; Stanovich; West). I argue that such a shift in how we understand the empirical adequacy concern is illuminating in a double sense: Firstly, at least some versions of virtue epistemology appear to be consistent with and possibly also empirically supported by dual process theory; Secondly, “philosophical” situationism’s own empirical adequacy is drawn into question when we notice its inconsistencies with what has been called the “new paradigm in the psychology of reasoning” (Evans, 2012) which dual process and bounded rationality theories share.
May 31, 2013 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell
The revised, hopefully final version of "Thinking Twice about Virtue and Vice" for the Alfano and Fairweather (eds.) Epistemic Situationism collection is available in JanusBlog Library (or write me directly for it.

The paper begins, "One goal of this chapter is to defend virtue epistemology (VE) against a number of charges that Mark Alfano brings against it based upon the incompatibility of its claims with the thesis of epistemic situationism, and that Olin and Doris (2013) bring against it based upon a dilemma we can call the “trade-off” argument. The latter argument is a dilemma in the form of a necessary tradeoff between the normative appeal of a virtue-theoretic (ability) condition on knowing, and the empirical adequacy of such a condition. Doris presented a trade-off argument in his critique of virtue ethics in Lack of Character (2005), and Olin and Doris now extend the problem to include virtue epistemologies.
At the same time, however, this chapter has more constructive goals. Epistemologists have not paid enough attention to what psychologists call the normative-descriptive gap, or to the “bounded” or “ecological” nature of human cognition. Our human susceptibilities to motivational and cognitive biases may be well-recognized by today’s more naturalistically-inclined philosophers, but there remains a general worry about normative theories in ethics and epistemology, which Alfano, Olin, and Doris are perhaps justified in bringing against virtue theories as well: a worry about repeating the errors of the past by permitting research on normative conditions and constraints to continue as a ‘separate culture’ from cognitive and social psychology."
June 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell