Closed-minded belief and Indoctrination

Chris Ranalli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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What is indoctrination? This paper clarifies and defends a structural epistemic account of indoctrination according to which indoctrination is the inculcation of closed-minded belief caused by “epistemically insulating content.” This is content which contains a proviso that serious critical consideration of the relevant alternatives to one’s belief is reprehensible whether morally or epistemically. As such, it does not demand that indoctrination be a type of unethical instruction, ideological instruction, unveridical instruction, or instruction which bypasses the agent’s rational evaluation. In this way, we can account for why indoctrination can occur for liberal democratic beliefs as much as it occurs for fascist, fundamentalist, or fanatical belief: for indoctrination is fundamentally a structural epistemic phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
this paper was made possible by project EXTREME (Extreme Beliefs: The Epistemology and Ethics of Fundamentalism), which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 851613).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.


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