OPEN-MINDEDNESS

Authors


Abstract

Abstract: Open-mindedness is typically at the top of any list of the intellectual or “epistemic” virtues. Yet, providing an account that simultaneously explains why open-mindedness is an epistemically valuable trait to have and how such a trait is compatible with full-blooded belief turns out to be a challenge. Building on the work of William Hare and Jonathan Adler, I defend a view of open-mindedness that meets this challenge. On this view, open-mindedness is primarily an attitude toward oneself as a believer, rather than toward any particular belief. To be open-minded is to be aware of one's fallibility as a believer, and to acknowledge the possibility that anytime one believes something, one could be wrong. In order to see that such an attitude is epistemically valuable even to an already virtuous agent, some details of the skills and habits of the open-minded agent are elucidated.

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