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The Excellent MindIntellectual Virtues for Everyday Life$
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Nathan L. King

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190096250

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190096250.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 July 2021

Open-Mindedness and Firmness

Open-Mindedness and Firmness

Transcend and Maintain Your Perspective

(p.199) 10 Open-Mindedness and Firmness
The Excellent Mind

Nathan L. King

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the complementary virtues of open-mindedness and firmness. The former requires a willing ability to take seriously the merits of new and contrary views. The latter requires a disposition to retain our own views, insofar as these are well confirmed. Open-mindedness repels the vices of closed-mindedness (a deficiency) and indiscriminateness (an excess). Firmness repels the vices of spinelessness (a deficiency) and rigidity (an excess). The chapter argues that there is a surprising commonality between spinelessness and rigid dogmatism—namely, that both often involve an insufficient attention to portions of our evidence. The chapter closes by extending the notion of open-mindedness to include our views about other people, chiefly our discussion partners.

Keywords:   open-mindedness, firmness, closed-mindedness, indiscriminateness, spinelessness, dogmatism, civil discourse, disagreement, total evidence

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