Kierkegaard's Virtue Epistemology

Michael D. Stark

Abstract


Epistemological emphasis often focuses on what is true, or what is right. It is obvious that possessing knowledge and truth is valuable, but perhaps the concern with epistemic rightness ought not be the sole, primary focus. Indeed perhaps the epistemic process, i.e., the pursuit of knowledge and truth and the characteristics of the learning agent thereof, ought to be equally prioritized. This paper seeks to argue for the prioritization of the epistemic process using the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaardian epistemology is often relegated to fideism, but perhaps with much haste. In light of Kierkegaard’s emphasis on the individual further epistemological examination is warranted. It is the purpose of this essay to examine epistemic themes in Kierkegaard’s writings, namely that his philosophy can, at least in part, be relegated to virtue epistemology. Understanding Kierkegaard through virtue epistemology can help us: (1) understand the role that self-formation plays with relation to belief-formation, (2) apprehend the role subjectivity plays in Kierkegaard’s thought, and (3) respond to the frequent objection that he was a fideist.

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