Virtue epistemology and epistemic humility: national and international implications for social work


  • Martyn Higgins London South Bank University 103 Borough Road London SE1 0AA



This paper adopts an original approach to social work by using virtue epistemology to analyse critically contemporary social work knowledge and practice. There is an epistemic danger that social workers are using knowledge in an overconfident and uncritical way.  It is argued that this epistemic confidence is linked to the narrow and at times authoritarian practices of contemporary social work. The paper reviews the concept of virtue ethics and connects it to epistemology and the virtues needed to apply knowledge ethically. Epistemic humility is seen as a key epistemological virtue in social work and its implications for social work nationally and internationally are considered. The key message of this paper is that virtue epistemology provides a way to explore how we can be before we decide what to do

Author Biography

Martyn Higgins, London South Bank University 103 Borough Road London SE1 0AA

Associate Professor PhD


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How to Cite

Higgins, M. (2021). Virtue epistemology and epistemic humility: national and international implications for social work. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 18(1-2), 69-84.