Closed-minded Belief and Indoctrination

« Go back to: Papers


Closed-minded Belief and Indoctrination

Date Published: 1 January 2022
Author(s): Chris Ranalli


What is indoctrination? This paper clarifies and defends a structural epistemic account of indoctrination according to which indoctrination is the inculcation of closed-minded belief caused by “epistemically insulating content.” This is content which contains a proviso that serious critical consideration of the relevant alternatives to one’s belief is reprehensible whether morally or epistemically. As such, it does not demand that indoctrination be a type of unethical instruction, ideological instruction, unveridical instruction, or instruction which bypasses the agent’s rational evaluation. In this way, we can account for why indoctrination can occur for liberal democratic beliefs as much as it occurs for fascist, fundamentalist, or fanatical belief: for indoctrination is fundamentally a structural epistemic phenomenon.