Dewey as Virtue Epistemologist: Open-mindedness and the training of thought in Democracy and Education

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In epistemology today, the intellectual virtues are receiving renewed attention. In this vein, epistemologists like Roberts and Wood (2007) suggest that a key task of
philosophy is not only to study the nature of knowledge and thought, but to promote good thinking. While not regarded as a standard thinker in virtue epistemology, Dewey thought like this too. In fact, study of the virtues that make for good thinking plays a key role in Dewey’s educational thought, most notably in Democracy and Education. In this paper, I reconstruct Dewey’s work on ‘the training of thought’ in Democracy and Education as a form of virtue epistemology. I give particular attention to Dewey’s thinking about the virtue of ‘open-mindedness’ and highlight the touchpoints and differences between Dewey’s conception of open-mindedness and contemporary accounts.

Bibliographic note

Dr Hendrick Kotzee is known as Dr Ben Kotzee on the Journal of Philosophy of Education web pages.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-373
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number2
Early online date20 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018