Teaching Philosophy


published on January 21, 2020

Chiara Robbiano, Karin Scager

Cultivating Two Aspects of Intellectual Humility: Openness and Care

We believe that intellectual humility is an essential intellectual virtue for university students to foster. It enables them to excel as students of philosophy and other disciplines, to navigate the fast-changing world inside and outside academia, and to flourish in interaction with others. In this paper, we analyze this virtue by singling out two distinct but related aspects: the openness-aspect and the care-aspect. The former makes one value a dialogue with those who have different views from one’s own. The latter aspect involves searching for implicit assumptions one brings to encounters with one’s object of inquiry and trying to study this object as unique and irreducible. We discuss four learning activities we developed for the philosophy bachelor course “Who are we? Philosophical views on humans and the gods” at University College Utrecht (the Netherlands). Throughout this paper, we show extracts from the students’ assignments, reflections, and evaluations. These extracts indicate that students developed both aspects of intellectual humility —openness to different views and care for the uniqueness of each object of inquiry— and acknowledged their importance.