Essay Epstemic Virtue and Vice


For your final paper, you will continue to write about epistemic virtue and vice. This time your goal is to come up with your own example of a specific epistemic virtue, and analyze it according to the properties of epistemic virtues we’ve discussed in the last few weeks.

Your paper should have the following three components:

1. Explain what a virtue is, focusing on concepts like (i) epistemic agency, (ii) what makes something a character trait or habit, (iii) what makes a virtue a good character trait (and vice a bad one), and (iv) the Doctrine of the Mean and the relationship between a virtue and its vices. (This is similar to the content from Paper 3: you can reuse that content, but don’t just copy/paste the paper. Write it again, better)

2. Come up with your own vice and Virtue that’s not in the articles or readings. Think of a real concrete strategy.

3. Discuss a specific intellectual character trait that you think qualifies as an epistemic virtue, plus its corresponding vices. Show that it does qualify, by showing how it meets all the criteria for epistemic virtue as outlined in (1) above. Pay particular attention to the characteristic motivations, successes, skills, epistemic goods, and domain for your chosen virtue. And make sure it is an intellectual virtue, not a moral one.

3. Finally, use the material from the last week of class to show how one can cultivate this virtue. Give specific strategies for adapting one’s thinking, behavior, social circles, and environment to make your virtue an internalized, long-term habit. Be advised: this is harder than it sounds. ‘I will pay attention and do better’ doesn’t cut it. Be concrete and practical, and pay attention to how we might lapse or rationalize failure.

This paper is more content-heavy than the others, so pay special attention to how to incorporate all the relevant material from class. You won’t necessarily have to cover everything, but you should include everything that is relevant. You will likely also have to seek outside sources to bolster you discussion of some conceptions (e.g. what the Doctrine of the Mean is).


Each short paper should be roughly 1500-3000 words (about 7-10 pages). 12 pt. font, double-spaced.

For this paper, you will need to properly cite your sources. I don’t care which citation format you use for these, so long as it’s an accurate citation. If you’re not sure, a simple in-text (Author, xx) format will suffice. Add a short bibliography/work cited at the end.


Each response paper is worth 30 pts, which equals 30% of your final grade. I will grade your papers according to the following rubric:

8 pts: Thoroughly and accurately explains the concept of epistemic virtue

8 pts: Thoroughly and accurately analyzes specific epistemic virtue and its vices

8 pts: Thoroughly and accurately explains how to cultivate specific virtue and avoid vices

2 pt: Makes good use of and properly cites course material; includes all relevant readings

2 pt: Makes good use of and properly cites 2 relevant, academically legit outside sources

2 pt: Has proper formal features (intro & conclusion, thesis statement, paragraphing, etc)

PLEASE SEE ATTACHMENTS. Also I will be attaching more Information as well.