The philosophers and psychologists advancing our theoretical understanding of intellectual humility (IH) often occupy positions of relative privilege. But this can be distorting. Our theoretical understanding of IH will be dangerously impoverished if we fail to consider the nature and value of IH for people occupying a wide array of social positions, including victims of marginalization and oppression - people bombarded with messages that they are ignorant or untrustworthy. Consider the victim of gaslighting, who has been systematically groomed to distrust her own memory of a troubling situation. Or the student from a historically marginalized group who receives subtle messages that their ideas not worth taking seriously. Or the Black patient who is not believed when she tries to report troublesome symptoms to her obstetrician. It is far from clear that IH would be good for such individuals. And if IH is indeed good even for them, perhaps we need a quite revisionary understanding of what IH really amounts to.

 

The Intellectual Humility and Oppression project, 2022-2024, is generously funded by The John Templeton Foundation with support from the Notre Dame Research, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for Philosophy of Religion. The project will address these underexplored Big Questions of whether IH is an inclusive virtue - i.e., an important virtue for all people, including victims of oppression – and how the experiences of victims of oppression should shape our theoretical understanding of IH and its appropriate cultivation.

The project will directly generate significant scholarly work on these questions primarily in philosophy but also psychology, and it will also build and advance a community of scholars working on these questions bridging intradisciplinary divides (feminist philosophers vs. virtue epistemologists) as well as disciplinary ones (philosophy vs. psychology). Principal activities: (i) dedicated PI research, (ii) an interdisciplinary, philosophy/psychology working group and conference, (iii) a cohort of year-long fellows at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame, and (iv) a capstone conference engaging additional prominent philosophers.

Check back for updates on conference activities and outputs, and please feel free to contact me at lcallah4@nd.edu if you are interested in participating or learning more.