Volume 16
Issue S
Fall '18

What Does It Mean to Take Diversity Seriously? On Open-Mindedness as a Civic Virtue

Written By: Helene Landemore

Abstract

Taking diversity seriously should mean building political institutions that are open to diversity, rather than closed to it, and cultivating civic virtues that are welcoming of diversity, rather than hostile to it. Open-mindedness, in particular to the views of one’s political opponents, would seem to be such a civic virtue. This essay argues that this disposition cannot be properly cultivated in an institutional context—electoral or party democracy—which thrives on and encourages the exact opposite virtue: partisanship. The essay gestures instead towards a non-electoral form of democracy that would structurally encourage open rather than closed-mindedness and thus fully harness the benefits of diversity.

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