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The Hazards and Potential of Open-Mindedness in Post-Truth Conditions

Champaign , USA
Levis Faculty Center, Room 210 (919 W. Illinois St., Urbana)

Levis Faculty Center, Room 210 (919 W. Illinois St., Urbana)

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The Hazards and Potential of Open-Mindedness in Post-Truth Conditions will take place on October 22, 2018, in Urbana, Illinois.

Please join us for this half-day conference, free and open to the public. Coffee, light breakfast, and lunch provided. Please RSVP by emailing Emily Wenneborg at

Open-mindedness is ordinarily considered an educational good and an epistemic virtue, whereas closed-mindedness is a serious defect, one that opens us to harsh censure in the classroom. However, in today’s world open-mindedness is itself not without moral hazard. When badly false beliefs are in wide circulation, and the rhetorical opposition cares more to win the day than to uncover shared truth, open-minded persons risk being manipulated epistemically, even losing their grip on truth. Is more open-mindedness the answer?

The hazards of open-mindedness in epistemically corrupting conditions present several puzzles for advocates of open-mindedness as an educational good. How open should an open mind be? Is open-mindedness virtuous or strategic in the face of injustice and polarization partly characterized by extreme closed-mindedness? What are the challenges of adhering to a pedagogy of open-mindedness in the classroom, particularly when engaging students in conversations about obvious injustice, and how can teachers meet them?

This year’s institute, directed by Lauren Bialystok (OISE, University of Toronto) and Matt Ferkany (Michigan State University), brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore these questions:

  • Howard Curzer (Texas Tech University),
  • Tadashi Dozono (Lyons Community School)
  • Joseph Dunne (Dublin City University)
  • Troy Richardson (Cornell University)
  • Rebecca Taylor (Emory University)
  • Rachel Wahl (University of Virginia)
  • Douglas Yacek (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

The conference will feature three panels, with further invited respondents, addressing the role of open-mindedness in education, including the nature of mind and truth, the importance of open-mindedness for learners, and methods of teaching open-mindedness.

Directions can be found at

Contact: Emily Wenneborg