Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Zoom Talk: Hein Duijf (MCMP)

Meeting ID: 980 1222 9580

02.12.2021 16:15  – 17:45 

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When should one be open minded?


It is widely believed among philosophers and educated people that it is virtuous to be open-minded (as opposed to being close-minded or narrow-minded). Although the validity of this belief has occasionally been questioned, this claim is often thought of as a platitude which requires no defence. In this talk, I will critically examine open-mindedness under some realistic assumptions: (1) people are not perfectly competent in forming their own opinions, (2) people are not perfectly capable of evaluating the claims put forward by others, and (3) people can only give consideration to a limited number of arguments or opinions. What happens to open-mindedness once these realistic constraints are taken seriously? Open-mindedness does not always lead to basic epistemic goods and may even be epistemically harmful. It is thus vital to explicate the conditions that must obtain if open-mindedness is to produce basic epistemic goods. I put forward a simple formal model to investigate whether and when an open-minded attitude will lead to basic epistemic goods. The conclusion of the model is that the circumstances where open-mindedness is epistemically valuable may be more restricted than previously thought.