One of my current research projects concerns the virtue of open-mindedness, and recently two of my articles on the subject were published in scholarly journals. One of these, which appears in the March issue of Theory and Research in Education, discusses several accounts of open-mindedness and defends William Hare’s account against some prominent alternatives, including those of Peter Gardner and Jonathan Adler. In the essay I also compare and contrast open-mindedness with the related virtue of intellectual humility.
My other article, published in the April issue of Sophia, discusses what I call the paradox of open-mindedness and religious devotion. To be religiously devout is presumably to be firmly committed to believing in and following God, and this includes behaving virtuously in all respects. But such commitment seems to rule out openness to changing one’s mind about certain beliefs and values that are entailed in that religious devotion. Now assuming (as nearly all virtue ethicists and epistemologists do) that open-mindedness is a virtue, this creates a paradox, where it appears to be virtuous to display an intellectual vice, namely closed-mindedness. In my essay I explore a variety of potential ways of resolving this paradox. The route that I think succeeds appeals to the possibility of personal knowledge of God via direct experience.
My work on open-mindedness is ongoing, and my long-term goal is to do a book on the subject. More immediately, I am working on a paper entitled “Open-mindedness and Christian Flourishing” which I am slated to present at a Society for Christian Psychology conference this fall dealing with the theme “Towards a Christian Positive Psychology.” I’ll say more about this conference in a later post.
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