Open-Mindedness: An Intellectual Virtue in the Pursuit of Knowledge and Understanding

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Abstract

Open-mindedness is widely valued as an important intellectual virtue. Definitional debates about open-mindedness have focused on whether open-minded believers must possess a particular first-order attitude toward their beliefs or a second-order attitude toward themselves as believers, taking it for granted that open-mindedness is motivated by the pursuit of propositional knowledge. In this article, Rebecca Taylor develops an alternative to knowledge-centered accounts of open-mindedness. Drawing on recent work in epistemology that reclaims understanding as a primary epistemic good, Taylor argues for an expanded account of open-mindedness as an intellectual virtue motivated by the pursuit of both knowledge and understanding. Incorporating understanding allows for a more robust account of open-mindedness that better accommodates common usage, avoids common criticisms, and better explains the widespread acceptance of open-mindedness as an important intellectual virtue. Taylor also identifies the connections between open-mindedness and several other intellectual virtues, including intellectual humility, intellectual courage, and intellectual diligence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-618
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Theory
Volume66
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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