J. W. Traphagan and John J. Kaag in The Conversation:
A common complaint in America today is that politics and even society as a whole are broken. Critics point out endless lists of what should be fixed: the complexity of the tax code, or immigration reform, or the inefficiency of government.
But each dilemma usually comes down to polarized deadlock between two competing visions and everyone’s conviction that theirs is the right one. Perhaps this white-knuckled insistence on being right is the root cause of the societal fissure – why everything seems so irreparably wrong.
As religion and philosophy scholars, we would argue that our apparent national impasse points to a lack of “epistemic humility,” or intellectual humility – that is, an inability to acknowledge, empathize with and ultimately compromise with opinions and perspectives different from one’s own. In other words, Americans have stopped listening.
So why is intellectual humility in such scarce supply?