Contest and Indifference: Two Models of Open-Minded Inquiry

Philosophia 45 (2):789-810 (2017)
While open-mindedness as an intellectual trait has been recognized for centuries, Western philosophers have not explicitly endorsed it as a virtue until recently. This acknowledgment has been roughly coincident with the rise of virtue epistemology. As with any virtue, it is important to inform contemporary discussion of open-mindedness with reflection on sources from the history of philosophy. Here I do just this. After reviewing two major accounts of open-mindedness, which I dub "Contest" and "Indifference," I explore some ideas pertinent to the subject in four philosophers spanning eighteen centuries: Sextus Empiricus, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Paul Feyerabend. Despite their varying concerns and terminology, their contributions may valuably inform current reflection on the virtue of open-mindedness, whether construed in terms of the Contest or Indifference account.
Keywords Virtue   Open-mindedness  Sextus Empiricus   John Locke   John Stuart Mill   Paul Feyerabend
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-017-9850-z
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