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Curiosity and inquisitiveness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology
EditorsHeather Batally
ISBN (Electronic)/9781315712550
ISBN (Print)9781138890206
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Philosophy


Curiosity and inquisitiveness are subjects of emerging interest in contemporary epistemology. Curiosity, in particular, has attracted attention from epistemologists in recent years. This chapter offers characterizations of curiosity and inquisitiveness and argues that they are distinct, albeit closely related intellectual virtues. Inquisitiveness emerges as a restricted form of curiosity. By drawing a relatively fine-grained distinction between curiosity and inquisitiveness, we can distinguish two important aspects of intellectually virtuous inquiry. Curiosity and inquisitiveness are closely related virtues, both arising in the initial stages of intellectually virtuous inquiry. Inquisitiveness is characterized in terms of an activity; the activity of questioning. Curiosity is characterized in more passive terms; as the motivation to acquire worthwhile epistemic goods, rather than in terms of the actions and behaviors associated with that motivation. The distinction between curiosity and inquisitiveness is of significance for virtue epistemologists concerned with the project of characterizing the individual intellectual virtues.

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