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The Limitations of the Open Mind$
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Jeremy Fantl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807957.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Open-Mindedness
The Limitations of the Open Mind

Jeremy Fantl

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for a “Platonic” conception of open-mindedness. Open-mindedness is not simply a matter of being willing to change your mind in response to a counterargument. You have to be willing to change your mind conditional on spending significant time with the argument, finding each step compelling, and being unable to expose a flaw. If you are willing to do this, then you may be open-minded toward the argument provided you also don’t violate various procedural norms and aren’t disposed to allow various affective factors to influence your beliefs (for example, you aren’t willfully ignorant). On this conception, we can explain how it is possible to hold an outright or “full” belief even while being open-minded toward arguments against that belief.

Keywords:   open-mindedness, Plato, outright belief, procedural norms, willful ignorance

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