Syllabus for Virtues and Vices of Inquiry

Epistemiska dygder och laster


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5FT144
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Theoretical Philosophy G2F

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2021-03-08
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 27, 2021
  • Entry requirements: 60 higher education credits in Theoretical or Practical Philosophy
  • Responsible department: Department of Philosophy

Decisions and guidelines

The course is offered to C level students and students at advanced level. For students at advanced level, the examination requirements are higher than for students at C level.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the students are expected to:

  • have an overview of how the notions of virtue and vice are used within epistemology
  • be able to distinguish intellectual and moral virtues (and vices)
  • know the central texts in which these concepts emerge in Classical Ancient Philosophy
  • be able to discuss several individual virtues and vices relevant for inquiry, knowledge-acquisition, and communication.


Knowledge is seldom something that we simply possess. Much of our intellectual effort goes towards processes of knowledge acquisition, such as inquiry. Inquiry is a goal-directed process aimed at settling a particular question. Inquiries can be conducted well and they can be conducted badly -- inquiries are subject to norms. What are those norms?Moreover, some people are good at inquiring and some people not, some are open-minded and intellectually humble, some are arrogant and dogmatic. What, exactly are these character traits and how should they be cultivated or avoided? The course starts from the ancient -- Platonic and Aristotelian -- insight that some of the virtues are primarily intellectual and hence useful in contexts that have to do with knowledge acquisition and inquiry. We will then proceed to contemporary theories of virtues that promote the acquisition of knowledge and vices that prevent such acquisition.


Lectures and seminars. Seminar meetings are interactive and students are expected to participate and contribute. The language of instruction is English.


One longer essay and one shorter writing assignment. A student's active participation and good performance during the lectures and seminars may be a positive factor in the overall assessment of the student's work for the course.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 28, 2021

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Reading List

Information on literature which the students need to acquire themselves will be announced here or in Studium at the latest five weeks before the course starts.

Reading list revisions