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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 1999

Philosophy of Education

Jonathan E. Adler
Pages 117-129

Epistemic Dependence, Diversity of Ideas, and a Value of Intellectual Vices

The present argument assumes that teaching through modeling attempts to teach the intellectual virtues not primarily as an independent goal of education as, for example, a way to build good character, but for its value to inquiry. I argue that intellectual vices (such as being gullible, dogmatic, pigheaded, or prejudiced)—while harmful to inquiry in certain ways—are essential to its well functioning. Furthermore, to the extent that teaching models critical inquiry, there are educational lessons for which some students ought to take a dogmatic or narrow minded commitment to certain hypotheses or positions; and then, insofar as this modeling works, it will promote these intellectual vices. In Part I of what follows, I develop my argument; in Part II, I respond to the objection that diversity of ideas and attitudes need not—and ought not—call upon the promotion of intellectual vices.

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