On Open-Mindedness

What does it mean to be open-minded?  There’s this assumption that to be open-minded, you must accept everything that comes your way.  People always say, “Well, you’re not being open-minded.”  But that’s illogical.  Being open-minded means that you’re open to the possibility, but you have counter-evidence to contradict those claims.  To those that say, “well, that’s just being closed-minded” is a fallacy.  The clip below explains it better than I can:

Hopefully, we can gain more clarity and open-minded discussions in the world instead of falling on fallacies, hyperboles, and rhetoric.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
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2 Responses to On Open-Mindedness

  1. thekillerj says:

    Great post, and great clip. Seriously, I’ve tried explaining this concept to a lot of people when they attack me. I get “you’re close minded,” or “you’re intolerant” all the time.
    I’ll acknowledge my accusers may be right every once in a while, but for the most part I don’t accept their non-evidence based opinion because I believe I have a valid counter argument.
    As an atheist (or however it is you define yourself), I’m sure you get this a lot. Probably even from me.

    As an independent conservative living in a Republican Party state, working in a liberal-minded field, and married to (and friends with) predominantly liberal friends, I catch my fair share of it from all angles.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    I’m sure you do. It’s hard to make people understand what it means to be open-minded. To me, being open-minded doesn’t mean to accept something. It’s just the opposite: it means to be skeptical of things. I try to be skeptical of everything until I have a good reason to accept it. Granted, I’m not perfect (no one is), but I can admit that. I think the first stop to being open-minded is realizing that one could be wrong. It’s similar to Socrates: all I know is I know nothing.

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