Collective intellectual humility and arrogance

Synthese 199 (3-4):6967-6979 (2021)
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Abstract

Philosophers and psychologists have devoted considerable attention to the study of intellectual humility and intellectual arrogance. To this point, theoretical and empirical studies of intellectual humility and arrogance have focused on these traits as possessed by individual reasoners. However, it is natural in some contexts to attribute intellectual humility or intellectual arrogance to collectives. This paper investigates the nature of collective intellectual humility and arrogance and, in particular, how these traits are related to the attitudes of individuals. I discuss three approaches to collective intellectual humility and arrogance. Rather than arguing that one of these approaches is applicable to all instances of collective intellectual humility and arrogance, I argue that there are at least two and perhaps three distinct forms of both collective intellectual humility and arrogance. Recognizing these distinct forms of collective intellectual humility and arrogance, I argue, is crucial to understanding how intellectual humility and arrogance are related to troubling phenomena like political polarization.

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Keith Raymond Harris
Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum

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