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This special issue of Paideusis contains refereed papers from the Conference on Open-mindedness and the Virtues in Education held in honour of William Hare at Mount Saint Vincent University, October 2-4, 2008, on the occasion of Dr. Hare’s retirement from full-time teaching.
A philosophical conception of open-minded inquiry first emerges in western philosophy in the work of Socrates. This paper develops an interpretation of Socratic open-mindedness drawing primarily on Socratic ideas about (i) the requirements of serious argument, and (ii) the nature of human wisdom. This account is defended against a number of objections which mistakenly interpret Socrates as defending, teaching, or inducing skepticism, and neglecting the value of expert wisdom. The ongoing significance of Socratic open-mindedness as an ideal of inquiry is brought out through examination of a notorious Canadian case in the context of forensic pathology.
In this paper, I discuss the Ontario College of Teachers’ most recent versions of the Standards of Practice with William Hare’s counsel on being open-minded regarding open-mindedness in mind. Specifically, I insist that the use of the Standards of Practice as guidelines for working through cases of professional and ethical issues requires yet another rule to indicate when to deviate from this or that standard. In this way, open-mindedness consists of developing and following rules to indicate when and where specific standards should be bypassed. These rules vary, however, one source of these can be found in what Barbara Herman has called, “Rules of Moral Salience”—rules that guide us in our day-to-day moral decision-making and that we draw on when called upon to make moral-ethical judgments. What this means for various ethics (ethics of care; Kantian-type ethics, psychological and/or developmental accounts of ethics) is also broached.
William Hare has made fundamental contributions to philosophy of education. Among the most important of these contributions is his hugely important work on open-mindedness. In this paper I explore the several relationships that exist between Hare’s favored educational ideal (open-mindedness) and my own (critical thinking). I argue that while both are of central importance, it is the latter that is the more fundamental of the two.
In this paper we will discuss the issue of environmental advocacy in science education in light of William Hare’s concept of open-mindedness. Although we shall assume that science teaching and learning must go beyond the scientific facts and theories and deal with the implications of science for society, we shall argue that science education should also demand an open-mindedness about environmental concerns such that all proposals for sustainability and the like are weighed against the alternatives using the best scientific knowledge available. Our approach will be to describe two examples of environmental education that recommend insufficiently open-minded forms of teaching and a third example that avoids this shortcoming yet provides a sound basis in environmental education.
In this programmatic essay, I approach the question "What is open-mindedness?" through three more specific questions, each designed to foreground a distinct dimension along which the analysis of open-mindedness might proceed: When is open-mindedness? What is not open-mindedness? and, Where is open-mindedness? The first question refers to the temporal dimension of open-mindedness, which I analyze in terms of Dewey’s distinction between recognition and perception and the psychoanalytic concept of disavowal. The second question refers to the dialectical dimension of open-mindedness, to what the many aspects of closed-mindedness reveal about open-mindedness. Here I recall Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean. The third question refers to the dimension of scale, asking what open- and closed-mindedness look like on the interpersonal and social levels. To bring out this third dimension, I draw on Jonathan Lear's reading of the Republic and psychoanalytic group dynamics theory. Through these three related inquiries I show the range of this central intellectual virtue and bring out its connections to two central, related features of the moral life: the need for integration and the need for openness to newness and complexity.
In his 1993 book, Hare asks “What Makes a Good Teacher?” In this paper we ask, “What makes a good education researcher?” We begin our discussion with Richard Rudner's classic 1953 essay, The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments, which confronted science with the internal subjectivity it had long ignored. Rudner's bold claim that scientists do make value judgments as scientists called attention to the very foundations of scientific conduct. In an era of institutional research ethics, like the Tri-Council’s ethics policy, Rudner's call for an approach to these value judgments is even more relevant. The contemporary education researcher primarily engages with ethics procedurally, which provides a certain level of consistency and objectivity. This approach has its roots in principle-based theories of ethics that have long been dominant in Western universities. We argue that calls, like Rudner's, for an objective science of ethics, are at the root of this dominant institutional approach. This paper critiques the suitability of such principle-based ethics for solving Rudner's concerns, and posits that educational research ethics is better understood as a matter of character and virtue. We argue that, much like the ethical teacher, the ethical education researcher is a certain kind of person.
In this inquiry, I ask what is distinctive about listening as a teacher. I develop the meaning of educative listening as a mode of listening to interruptions in a way that promotes students’ thinking and learning. Interruptions in a teacher’s listening are defined as any unexpected response from a student to the material presented — for example, a challenging viewpoint, a difficult question, or a confusing reply — that opens up possibilities for cultivating learning. To begin, I draw upon Dewey to examine the connections between listening and learning in teacher-student interaction. In the second section, I explicate the implications of Dewey’s theory of learning for a theory of listening in reflective teaching. Here, I contend that reflective teaching entails educative listening. In the final section, I inquire into how teacher education can productively address the connections between learning to listen and learning to teach reflectively.
The sensitive nature of certain controversies is particularly problematic for teaching across difference. Questions as to what makes a controversy sensitive and how care and empathy are implicated in discussing it are considered through examples connected to the author’s own practice and in light of the traditional rationalist concept of critical spirit and feminist strong reflexivity. The suggestion is made that discussing sensitive controversy requires a ‘doubled view’ and that this is needed at all levels of inquiry.