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

Educational Theory 66 (5):599-618 (2016)
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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.



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Rebecca M. Taylor
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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