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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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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: 16 January 2022

The Obligation to Engage

The Obligation to Engage

(p.103) 5 The Obligation to Engage
The Limitations of the Open Mind

Jeremy Fantl

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores three arguments that you have at least a pro tanto obligation to engage even with those positions you find obviously false. First, as some informal logicians argue, an obligation to engage can be sourced in the nature of the practice of argumentation itself. Second, taking off from Mill’s argument for universal freedom of expression, an obligation to engage can be sourced in its good epistemic consequences. Third, an obligation to engage can be sourced in the rights or agency of the person whose position it is. This might be because, following Rawls and political liberalism generally, it is only legitimate to impose legal restrictions on those whose voices have a chance to influence the democratic process. Or perhaps people have an intrinsic right to be listened to.

Keywords:   Mill, political liberalism, informal logic, freedom of expression, public discourse

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