According to robust virtue epistemology, the difference between knowledge and mere true belief is that in cases of knowledge, the subject’s cognitive success is attributable to her cognitive agency. But what does it take for a subject’s cognitive success to be attributable to her cognitive agency? A promising answer is that the subject’s cognitive abilities have to contribute to the safety of her epistemic standing with respect to her inquiry, in order for her cognitive success to be attributable to her cognitive agency. Call this idea the contribution thesis. The author will argue that the contribution thesis follows naturally from virtue epistemological accounts of knowledge, and that it is precisely the contribution thesis that allows the virtue epistemologist to deal with a wide variety of objections. Nevertheless, the principal aim of this paper is to argue that virtue epistemological theories of knowledge that are committed to the contribution thesis are ultimately untenable. There are cases of knowledge where the subject’s cognitive abilities do not improve the safety of the subject’s belief.
KallestrupJesper and PritchardDuncan2013. “Robust Virtue Epistemology and Epistemic Dependence.” In: Knowledge Virtue and Action: Putting Epistemic Virtues to Work. Edited by HenningTim and SchweikardDavidNew York: Routledge209–227.
KelpChristoph forthcoming. “Knowledge First Virtue Epistemology.” In: Knowledge First: Approaches in Epistemology and Mind. Edited by CarterAdamGordonEmma and JarvisBenjamin. Oxford: Oxford University Press.