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 am a Ph. D student at Marquette University. The primary purpose of this blog is to get my ideas out there, and then have other people scrutinize, critique, build upon, and systematize beliefs. This blog will sometimes pertain to what I'm learning in my classes, but it will occasionally deal with non-classroom issues that I'm thinking about as well.
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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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