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ULTIMA Talk – Naomi Kloosterboer
9 June @ 15:30 - 17:00
We are happy to invite you to the next ULTIMA [Utrecht Lectures on Topics In Mind and Action], delivered by Naomi Kloosterboer (Vrije Universiteit)
When: June 9th, 2022 – 15.30 to 17.00
Where: Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 (1.06), Utrecht
Title: Taking seriously a person with extreme beliefs: respect, truth, and edification
Abstract: The paper focuses on the question whether an interlocutor who deeply disagrees with a person harboring extreme beliefs, can still take that person seriously. In the context of the paper, extreme beliefs are characterized as follows: the label ‘extreme’ applies to a person’s belief(s) that are either (1) imbued with misinformation (i.e., clearly false) or (2) dehumanize certain (groups of) people (i.e., clearly immoral). They are akin to so-called ‘fringe beliefs’ (McCormick, manuscript) or ‘bad beliefs’ (Levi 2021). Taking seriously is often understood as critical engagement. I argue that, in case of extreme beliefs, this is in practice infeasible, but also normatively unwarranted. Abstracting away from practical challenges, critical engagement is either irrational (if undertaken open-mindedly) or incompatible with taking seriously (if undertaken closed-mindedly). But is critical engagement the only way of taking seriously? I want to defend taking seriously as listening across difference (Beatty 1999; Scudder 2020), guided not by the value of truth and knowledge but by growth and edification. It requires open-mindedness and intellectual humility, not regarding the topic under dispute, but regarding the interlocutor’s and other’s intellectual and moral character. Key to listening across difference is that it allows one to focus on each person’s humanity instead of inclusion in acceptable justification practices. I will also discuss its tension and possible compatibility with fighting against injustice, disinformation, and the mainstreaming of extremism.
This is an open event and everyone is most welcome to attend, but, please register by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
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