Human belief formation is a perplexing matter. In general, contemporary Westerners like to think themselves as critical and independent thinkers who believe only in those things that are 'real'. The scientific picture of our belief formation, however, is rather different. Most of our beliefs are based at least in part on subconscious processes and are susceptible to biases that are not necessarily truth-conducive. The results of cognitive science of religion suggest that the same processes that are in charge of everyday beliefs also affect religious beliefs. The obvious question is: do we have beliefs that we should not have?
In recent virtue epistemology, virtues have been invoked as a possible means to get around some of the problems concerning the definition of knowledge. This appeal to intellectual virtues may solve some conceptual problems but we still need to ask how such an approach helps us to form true beliefs in the real world. Is the acquisition of reliable, truth-conducive virtues possible for us?