Intellectually humble, but prejudiced people: A paradox of intellectual virtue

M. Colombo*, K. Strangmann, L. Houkes, Z. Kostadinova, M.J. Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Intellectual humility has attracted attention in both philosophy and psychology. Philosophers have clarified the nature of intellectual humility as an epistemic virtue; and psychologists have developed scales for measuring people’s intellectual humility. Much less attention has been paid to the potential effects of intellectual humility on people’s negative attitudes and to its relationship with prejudice-based epistemic vices. Here we fill these gaps by focusing on the relationship between intellectual humility and prejudice. To clarify this relationship, we conducted four empirical studies. The results of these studies show three things. First, people are systematically prejudiced towards members of groups perceived as dissimilar. Second, intellectual humility weakens the association between perceived dissimilarity and prejudice. Third, more intellectual humility is associated with more prejudice overall. We show that this apparently paradoxical pattern of results is consistent with the idea that it is both psychologically and rationally plausible that one person is at the same time intellectually humble, epistemically virtuous and strongly prejudiced.
Keywords: Intellectual humility, prejudice, out-groups, epistemic virtue, epistemic insidiousness
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalReview of Philosophy and Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • ATTITUDES
  • Epistemic insidiousness
  • Epistemic virtue
  • HUMILITY
  • IMPACT
  • INTEGRATED THREAT THEORY
  • Intellectual humility
  • JUDGMENTS
  • METAANALYSIS
  • Out-groups
  • PERSONALITY
  • Prejudice
  • SIMILARITY
  • STEREOTYPES
  • VALIDATION

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