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Virtues and Their Vices$
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Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.001.0001

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Sophia: Theoretical Wisdom and Contemporary Epistemology

Sophia: Theoretical Wisdom and Contemporary Epistemology

(p.302) (p.303) 14 Sophia: Theoretical Wisdom and Contemporary Epistemology
Virtues and Their Vices

Jason Baehr

Oxford University Press

While the term ‘sophia’ was used by ancient Greek philosophers to pick out what would seem to be a plurality of moral and epistemic excellences, this paper is concerned with sophia conceived of as an intellectual virtue. Following an examination of Aristotle’s treatment of sophia or ‘theoretical wisdom’ in the Nicomachean Ethics, three closely related but distinct conceptions of this virtue are delineated: one according to which sophia is a cognitive state or good on par with a kind of explanatory understanding, a second according to which it is a cognitive faculty or ability, and a third according to which it is an intellectual character trait. This is followed by a consideration of how each conception might figure relative to various issues and debates in virtue epistemology. In this respect, the paper is also intended as a kind of prolegomenon to future epistemological work on sophia.

Keywords:   sophia, wisdom, theoretical wisdom, intellectual virtue, understanding, virtue epistemology

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