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Why Only Virtues Can Confer Epistemic Dispositions: The Occasionalist Demon [Por qué solo las virtudes pueden conferir disposiciones epistémicas: El demonio ocasionalista]

Gómez-Alonso, Modesto

I will argue that, contrary to what happens with Schaffer’s debasing demon, that is not even able to threaten our knowledge of the external world, there is a demon —the occasionalist demon— that plays epistemic havoc merely by being possible. The occasionalist demon argues for an antirealist view on epistemic dispositions so that he forces virtue epistemologists into a dilemma between counting virtues as mere occasional causes of cognitive achievements (which is simply abandoning their theory) and committing themselves to metaphysical claims about how faculties are constituted and about how they are related to successful epistemic performances, specifically, to claims about the internal and logical relation captured by Sosa’s concept of ‘manifestation’. This paper aims thus at clarifying what it really involves to endorse a virtue epistemology. It will be argued that Sosa’s account of the primitive character of the relation of manifestation is crucial to effectively overcome the challenge raised by the occasionalist demon.

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