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What is closed-mindedness, and if it is an intellectual vice, what makes it so? This is the second in a series of three papers on closed-mindedness. It adopts a working analysis of closed-mindedness as an unwillingness or inability to engage seriously with relevant intellectual options. It distinguishes between three different kinds of intellectual vice – effects vice, responsibilist vice, and personalist vice – and argues that closed-mindedness can take each of these forms.
Is closed-mindedness always an intellectual vice? Are there conditions in which it might be an intellectual virtue? This paper adopts a working analysis of closed-mindedness as an unwillingness or inability to engage seriously with relevant intellectual options. In standard cases, closed-mindedness will be an intellectual vice. But, in epistemically hostile environments, closed-mindedness will be an intellectual virtue.
The primary goal of this paper is to propose a working analysis of the disposition of closed-mindedness. I argue that closed-mindedness (CM) is an unwillingness or inability to engage (seriously) with relevant intellectual options. Dogmatism (DG) is one kind of closed-mindedness: it is an unwillingness to engage seriously with relevant alternatives to the beliefs one already holds. I do not assume that the disposition of closed-mindedness is always an intellectual vice; rather I treat the analysis of the disposition, and its status as an intellectual vice, as separate questions. The concluding section develops a framework for determining the conditions under which closed-mindedness will be an intellectual vice.
This chapter develops the version of indirect epistemic teleology (IET) that is supported by pluralist teleology, and explores how it might answer at least some of the more important objections. It lays out the basic ideas of pluralist teleology. The chapter explains that IET is the view that results from applying pluralist teleology to the field of epistemic normativity. It explores IET in relation to both meta-epistemic issues and issues in normative epistemology. IET is structurally analogous to a kind of rule-consequentialism in ethics. The chapter discusses the concept of justified belief and other epistemic evaluative concepts. It evaluates the epistemic practices in all possible worlds, considered as hypothetical or counterfactual possibilities, relative to the actually optimal set of norms. The chapter considers objections to IET and briefly explores the ability of the theory to respond to the objections.
In the Nicomachean Ethics (NE), Aristotle famously distinguishes between two types of virtues: moral and intellectual. Contemporary virtue ethics argues that moral virtues are the foundational concepts and properties in ethics. Accordingly, virtue ethicists like Rosalind Hursthouse (1999), Michael Slote (2001) and Christine Swanton (2003) ground their (different) analyses of right action in their (different) analyses of moral virtue. Analogously, virtue epistemology argues that intellectual virtues are the foundational concepts and properties in epistemology. Thus, virtue epistemologists like Ernest Sosa (1991, 2007) and Linda Zagzebski (1996) ground their (different) analyses of knowledge in their (different) analyses of intellectual virtue.
Even if such analyses of right action and knowledge ultimately fail, analyses of moral and intellectual virtue will be important in their own right. After all, it is worthwhile to determine what makes a quality a moral or intellectual virtue, and which qualities make us excellent people and excellent thinkers, even if there is no easy formula for tying virtue to knowledge or right action.1 There are two key analyses of intellectual virtue in the current literature on virtue epistemology: virtue reliabilism, led by Sosa; and virtue responsibilism, led by Zagzebski. Virtue reliabilism shares the teleological intuition that underlies Aristotle's notion of intellectual virtue. In contrast, virtue responsibilism models its analysis of intellectual virtue on Aristotelian moral virtue.
The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the key debates about intellectual virtue that bear directly on virtue ethics.
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