Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Education for autonomy and open-mindedness in diverse societies (2017)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (2017). Education for autonomy and open-mindedness in diverse societies. Educational Philosophy and Theory, doi: 10.1080/00131857.2017.1278673.      

Abstract: In recent years, democracies across the globe have seen an increase in the popularity and power of authoritarian, nationalist politicians, groups, and policies. In this climate, the proper role of education in liberal democratic society, and in particular its role in promoting characteristics like autonomy and open-mindedness, is contested. This paper engages this debate by exploring the concept of autonomy and the obligations of liberal democratic societies to promote it. Presenting the conditions for the exercise and development of autonomy, I argue that the intellectual virtue of open-mindedness is necessary (though not sufficient) for possession of the capacity for autonomy and the motivation to exercise this capacity. In considering the importance of autonomy in liberal democratic societies, I argue that education for autonomy and open-mindedness can be justified by appealing to several liberal democratic aims: ensuring fair opportunity in the pursuit of the good life and preparing students for citizenship in diverse society. My analysis of the relationship between autonomy and open-mindedness aims to contribute to the literature by identifying a conception of autonomy that explicitly acknowledges its connections to intellectual virtue, thus clarifying one aspect of its value and identifying an important component of education that supports autonomy. 

Indoctrination and social context: A system-based approach to identifying the threat of indoctrination and the responsibilities of educators (2017)

Taylor, Rebecca M.(2017). Indoctrination and social context: A system-based approach to identifying the threat of indoctrination and the responsibilities of educators. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 51, 38–58.   

Abstract: Debates about indoctrination raise fundamental questions about the ethics of teaching. This paper presents a philosophical analysis of indoctrination, including 1) an account of what indoctrination is and why it is harmful, and 2) a framework for understanding the responsibilities of teachers and other educational actors to avoid its negative outcomes. I respond to prominent outcomes-based accounts of indoctrination, which I argue share two limiting features—a narrow focus on the threat indoctrination poses to knowledge and on the dyadic relationship between indoctrinator and indoctrinated person. I propose a system-based account of indoctrination in which actors with authority contribute to the production or reinforcement of closed-mindedness, which threatens both knowledge and understanding. By taking a system-based approach, my account is better equipped to identify the implications of indoctrination for educational policy and practice.

Open-mindedness: An intellectual virtue in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding (2016)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (2016). Open-mindedness: An intellectual virtue in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Educational Theory, 66 (5), 599–618.  

Abstract: Open-mindedness is widely valued as an important intellectual virtue. Definitional debates about open-mindedness have focused on whether open-minded believers must possess a particular first-order attitude toward their beliefs or a second-order attitude toward themselves as believers, taking it for granted that open-mindedness is motivated by the pursuit of propositional knowledge. In this article, Rebecca Taylor develops an alternative to knowledge-centered accounts of open-mindedness. Drawing on recent work in epistemology that reclaims understanding as a primary epistemic good, Taylor argues for an expanded account of open-mindedness as an intellectual virtue motivated by the pursuit of both knowledge and understanding. Incorporating understanding allows for a more robust account of open-mindedness that better accommodates common usage, avoids common criticisms, and better explains the widespread acceptance of open-mindedness as an important intellectual virtue. Taylor also identifies the connections between open-mindedness and several other intellectual virtues, including intellectual humility, intellectual courage, and intellectual diligence.

Educational justice and the development of autonomy and intellectual virtue (2014)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (2014). Educational justice and the development of autonomy and intellectual virtue. In M. Moses (ed.), Philosophy of Education 2014 (297-305). Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.  

Abstract: This paper explores the value of autonomy and the demands of educating for it, and proposes open-mindedness as a virtue not only in the pursuit of intellectual goods but in the pursuit of the good life as well. I begin with the instrumental argument for autonomy to which defenders of autonomy-facilitating education appeal. I argue that this instrumental value cannot be secured without also promoting autonomy, that is, teaching students not only how to critically reflect on their ends but motivating them to do so. I, then, investigate the relationship between autonomy, motivation, and epistemic goods more carefully by examining autonomy’s relationship with one particular intellectual virtue, open-mindedness. I argue that autonomous reflection is not possible without open-mindedness. Thus, if autonomy liberals are to take seriously the importance of education for autonomy in securing educational justice, they must attend to education for open-mindedness as well.

Open-mindedness: An epistemic virtue motivated by love of truth and understanding (2013)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (2013). Open-mindedness: An epistemic virtue motivated by love of truth and understanding. In C. Mayo (ed.), Philosophy of Education 2013 (197-205). Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society. 

Abstract: Open-mindedness is widely valued among philosophers as an important epistemic virtue, and the concept of open-mindedness has been formalized in various ways. In defining what it means to have an open mind, three components of the virtue are relevant: its motivation, the attitude it requires, and the disposition to behave cognitively in a particular way that accompanies this attitude. Recent debates on the definition of open-mindedness have focused on whether open-minded believers must possess a particular first-order attitude toward their beliefs or a second-order attitude toward themselves as believers, taking it for granted that open-mindedness is motivated by love of truth. In this paper, I diverge from these previous truth-centered accounts of open-mindedness. Drawing on recent work in epistemology that seeks to reclaim understanding as a primary epistemic good alongside truth and knowledge, I argue for an expanded account of open-mindedness as an epistemic virtue motivated by love of both truth and understanding. I argue that incorporating understanding allows a more robust account of open-mindedness that better accommodates common usage, avoids common criticisms, and better explains the widespread acceptance of open-mindedness as an important intellectual virtue. I also explore the connections between open-mindedness and several other epistemic virtues, including intellectual humility and intellectual courage. I argue that the value of open-mindedness is bolstered by its relationships to other epistemic virtues.

Reviews & Response Papers

Entrepreneurial education and economic progress (forthcoming)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (forthcoming). Entrepreneurial education and economic progress. In A. Chinnery (ed.), Philosophy of Education 2017. Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.

The conceptual and practical role of intellectual virtues in moral education (forthcoming)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (forthcoming). The conceptual and practical role of intellectual virtues in moral education. In N. Levinson (ed.), Philosophy of Education 2016. Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.       

Review of the book Dilemmas of educational ethics: Cases and commentaries, edited by M. Levinson and J. Fay (2017) The ethics of teaching for social justice: A framework for exploring the intellectual and moral virtues of social justice educators (2015) Reconsidering the transformative potential of dialogue (2011)

Reports & Other Publications

Degrees of freedom: Expanding college opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated Californians (2015)

Mukamal, Debbie, Rebecca Silbert, and Rebecca M. Taylor. (2015). Degrees of freedom: Expanding college opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated Californians. Stanford Criminal Justice Center & Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy.      

Abstract: This report begins with a background on the higher education and criminal justice systems in California. This background section highlights the vocabulary and common pathways for each system, and provides a primer on California community colleges. Part II explains why California needs this initiative. Part III presents the landscape of existing college programs dedicated to criminal justice-involved populations in the community and in jails and prisons. This landscape identifies promising strategies and sites of innovation across the state, as well as current challenges to sustaining and expanding these programs. Part IV lays out concrete recommendations California should take to realize the vision of expanding high-quality college opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. It includes guidelines for developing high-quality, sustainable programs, building and strengthening partnerships, and shaping the policy landscape, both by using existing opportunities and by advocating for specific legislative and policy changes. Profiles of current college students and graduates with criminal records divide the sections and offer first-hand accounts of the joys and challenges of a college experience.

Santorum is still wrong about higher education (2012)

Taylor, Rebecca. (2012, March 10). Santorum is still wrong about higher education. Op-Ed in Chattanooga Times Free Press, p. B6.

Global justice, progressive education and the case of conflict between whites and blacks in the Southeastern United States: Causes of injustice, suggestions for reform and international implications (2008)

Taylor, Rebecca M. (2008). Global justice, progressive education and the case of conflict between whites and blacks in the Southeastern United States: Causes of injustice, suggestions for reform and international implications (Master’s thesis, Universitat Jaume I, Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Master of Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies).