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Performance EpistemologyFoundations and Applications$
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Miguel Ángel Fernández Vargas

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746942

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746942.001.0001

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The Epistemology of Stupidity

The Epistemology of Stupidity

(p.196) 12 The Epistemology of Stupidity
Performance Epistemology

Pascal Engel

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes stupidity as a problem for epistemology. Its proper home belongs to virtue epistemology, as a specific epistemic vice, which has to be studied along the lines of both reliabilist virtue epistemology and of responsibilist virtue epistemology. The author distinguishes between two kinds of stupidity: stupidity proper and foolishness. The former is a defect in the competence of an agent, as well as in the performance of judgment, and it is generally studied as a failure of rationality along intellectualist lines. The second is a failure to evaluate properly the nature of the epistemic goal, and is a form of epistemic indifference, which involves an insensitivity to epistemic values and norms. This chapter analyzes their varieties, and suggest that the boundaries between stupidity and foolishness are often less clear than it is suggested by the author’s taxonomy.

Keywords:   stupidity, foolishness, epistemic virtue, epistemic vice, virtue epistemology, epistemic value, epistemic norm

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