Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski
Fellow: Awarded 2011
Field of Study: Philosophy
Competition: US & Canada
Linda Zagzebski is George Lynn Cross Research Professor and Kingfisher College Chair of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. She was born in Southern California, educated at Stanford (B.A.), the University of California at Berkeley (M.A.), and UCLA (Ph.D.). For twenty years she taught at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is past President of the Society of Christian Philosophers and past President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
Zagzebski’s work began in philosophy of religion, focusing on the problem of divine foreknowledge and human free will, and she continues to work on topics in religious epistemology, religious metaphysics, and the relation between religion and ethics. In the nineties she began to focus on epistemology and became a pioneer in the field of virtue epistemology, an approach to epistemology that is modeled on virtue ethics. Her current book project with the Guggenheim Fellowship is Epistemic Authority: A Theory of Trust, Authority, and Autonomy in Belief. This project applies the notion of authority as it is used in political philosophy to the domain of belief. She argues that the self-reflective person is committed to trusting herself epistemically, that consistent self-trust commits us to trust in others, that among those others are some who satisfy the conditions of authority, and that some epistemic authorities are in the moral or religious domains. She concludes with an account of intellectual autonomy which is not only compatible with the acceptance of authority, but requires it.
Zagzebski has given the Romanell Lectures of Phi Beta Kappa, the McCarthy Lectures at the Gregorian University in Rome, the Wilde Lectures in Natural Religion at Oxford, the Kaminski Lectures at the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, and the Olaus Petri Lectures at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Her books include The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge (Oxford UP, 1991), Virtues of the Mind (Cambridge UP, 1996), Divine Motivation Theory (Cambridge UP, 2004), Philosophy of Religion: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 2007), and On Epistemology (Wadsworth, 2008), as well as many edited books and articles in virtue epistemology, philosophy of religion, and virtue ethics. Some of her works have been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish, Italian, Swedish, and Farsi.