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The Excellent Mind

Intellectual Virtues for Everyday Life

Nathan L. King

Publication Date - 19 March 2021

ISBN: 9780190096267

304 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches

In Stock


Nathan L. King's The Excellent Mind considers the importance of the intellectual virtues: the character traits of excellent thinkers. He explains what it means to have an excellent mind: one that is curious, careful, self-reliant, humble, honest, persevering, courageous, open, firm, and wise. Drawing from recent literature in philosophy and psychology, he considers what these virtues are like in practice, why they are important, and how we grow in them. King also argues that despite their label, these virtues are not just for intellectuals: they are for everyone. He shows how intellectual virtues are critical to living everyday life, in areas as diverse as personal relationships, responsible citizenship, civil discourse, personal success, and education. Filled with vivid examples and relevant applications, The Excellent Mind will serve as an engaging introduction to the intellectual virtues for students and anyone interested in the topic.


  • Provides a unique, accessible introduction to the intellectual virtues for a broad audience, beyond literature in philosophy and educational theory
  • Relates the intellectual virtues to real-world issues, including education, responsible citizenship, and personal relationships
  • Addresses importance of intellectual character in connection with the intellectual virtues, moral virtues, logic, and critical thinking

About the Author(s)

Nathan L. King, Professor of Philosophy, Whitworth University

Nathan L. King is Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth University. His research interests include intellectual character, the epistemology of disagreement, and the philosophy of education. His work has appeared in such journals as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Quarterly, and Synthese.

Table of Contents


    Part I: What are Intellectual Virtues and Why Do They Matter?
    1. Why Good Thinking Matters
    2. The Intellectual Virtues: A Closer Look

    Part II: Intellectual Virtues
    3. Curiosity: A Healthy Appetite for Knowledge
    4. Carefulness: Mind Your Evidence
    5. Autonomy: Think for Yourself
    6. Humility & Self-Confidence: Own Your Weaknesses-and Your Strengths
    7. Honesty: Don't Distort the Truth
    8. Perseverance: Overcome Obstacles
    9. Courage: Persist Despite Threats
    10. Open-Mindedness & Firmness: Transcend and Maintain Your Perspective
    11. Fair-Mindedness & Charity: Don't Do Unto Others / Do Unto Others

    Part III: Putting on Virtue
    12. How We Grow in Intellectual Virtue