criterion of being admirable is just as susceptible
to doubt, and is equally unhelpful, for identifying the intellec-
tual virtues as is the criterion of truth-conduciveness. Conse-
quently, we cannot rely on the criterion of being admirable to
claim that there are still intellectual virtues in the demon-world
in order to then reject the possibility that we are simply wrong
concerning those traits on the standard list.
What is more threatening to the position advocated in this
paper, though, is Kvanvig’s first premise in the former argu-
ment; i.e. that claiming the standard list is wrong would entail
that inhabitants of the demon-world possess no intellectual
virtues. Since it has been proposed that the demon possibility
leads to doubt concerning those traits on the standard list it
would seem that one must also concede that no intellectual
virtues exist in such a world; i.e. our world. To put the point
another way, since the possibility of a Cartesian Demon leads
us to doubt the intellectual virtues on the standard list, and this
situation is similar to the restrictions induced by uncooperative
environments, it would seem that one would have to concede
that in our world there are no intellectual virtues. This latter
claim, though, does not have to be conceded, for, as previously
argued, we do not know whether such a demon exists, or the
extent to which our environment misleads us into believing that
certain traits are truth-conducive when in fact they are not. We
are in the oblique position in regard to both, and perceive cer-
tain traits, skills and faculties to be truth-conducive, and thus,
as far as we can tell, there are intellectual virtues; i.e. traits,
skills and faculties that are identified as intellectual virtues
because they are truth-conducive. If we discovered that a de-
mon was deceiving us, or that aspects of our environment mis-
led us into believing that certain traits were intellectual virtues
when in fact they are not such, then we would have to concede
either that there are no intellectual virtues in our world or that
we have not correctly identified any such virtues yet. Since we
are in the oblique position, and have not made any such discov-
ery, we can conclude that our world does contain intellectual
virtues for we have been able to identify various traits, skills
and faculties as truth-conducive. Consequently, Kvanvig’s
claim that doubting the standard list, due to the possibility of
systematic deception, would lead to the conclusion that there
are no intellectual virtues in our world is unwarranted.
Conclusion
The main concern of this article was whether the possibility
of a Cartesian Demon would initiate scepticism concerning
truth-conduciveness as the individuating criterion for identify-
ing the intellectual virtues. Arguments offered by Swank,
Montmarquet and Kvanvig that proposed that the demon possi-
bility would initiate such scepticism, as well as the replacement
criterion each advocated, were considered. It was argued that
the demon possibility does initiate scepticism, but that this
scepticism can be directed toward our list of virtues as opposed
to the criterion of truth-conduciveness. Other possible criteria
offered by these authors for identifying the intellectual virtues
were found to be either subject to the same doubt that would be
directed toward the truth-conducive criterion, given the possi-
bility of a Cartesian Demon, or to be dependent upon the per-
ceived truth-conduciveness of the intellectual virtues in a de-
mon world. When formulating Cartesian Demon thought ex-
periments, agents in the demon world are construed as being in
the oblique position concerning the demon’s existence, and
therefore such agents identify the intellectual virtues based on
their perceived truth-conduciveness. Since we are also in the
oblique position concerning the existence of the Cartesian De-
mon it was proposed that we should also act on the perceived
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 249
M. C. YOUNG
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
250
truth-conduciveness of specific traits, faculties and skills when
identifying the intellectual virtues. Consequently, the truth-
conduciveness criterion is maintained and doubt is instead di-
rected toward our current list of intellectual virtues.
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