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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: 23 January 2022

Against Closed-Minded Engagement (in Some Situations)

Against Closed-Minded Engagement (in Some Situations)

(p.154) 7 Against Closed-Minded Engagement (in Some Situations)
The Limitations of the Open Mind

Jeremy Fantl

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that in many situations in which you shouldn’t engage open-mindedly with salient counterarguments, you shouldn’t engage closed-mindedly, either. Closed-minded engagement can give credibility to views you know are false, demeaning, or dangerous. Furthermore, in many cases in which you are closed-minded toward a counterargument, if you engage you have to take either of two risky choices. Either you honestly represent your attitudes (as in the activist strategy known as “Nonviolent Communication”), in which case you run the risk of being ineffective. Or you risk being a “concern troll”: you fail to honestly represent yourself as closed-minded (as in the activist strategy employed by the “Listening Project”). In that case you run the risk of problematically exploiting misconceptions your interlocutors have about you in order to get them to change their attitudes. In many situations, this precludes the permissibility of closed-minded engagement.

Keywords:   activism, nonviolent communication, the listening project, closed-mindedness, deception, disingenuousness, concern trolling

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