What an amazing opportunity schools have, to build into the men and women of tomorrow. To speak into their character development and to equip them with the skills and tools to think and to contribute. To hold out to them the existence of ‘truth’, and training in the tools to pursue and find it. At a time when our culture is moving quickly towards uncertainty and relativity, a place where there is no one truth, but many truths, we have a great responsibility.
Dow explains that the benefits that come to the intellectually virtuous person can be broken down into 3 categories: we come to know more, become better thinkers, and become better people (p79).
Intellectual humility is probably the most difficult of the virtues to develop because this goes against the currents of our culture, and pride is deeply rooted in all of us (p75).
Curiosity is defined as “an eager desire to know; inquisitiveness”. It asks the questions ‘why’ and ‘how’ and pursues the answers. It is often the forerunner of invention and new ideas. It is not just a state of mind but is active in its observation, investigation and exploration; in its pursuit of answers.
CS Lewis once wrote “you cannot practice any of the other virtues without bringing this one into play…it is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Honest thinking …. the courage to challenge frightening ideas and the courage to stick to your guns when you become convinced of the truth.”
Dow explains that “those who are intellectually courageous earnestly want to know the truth, and so they take risks in the pursuit of truth. They are willing to reconsider their own beliefs even if this scares them.” (p28)
“concern with truth is the heart of virtuous intellectual character. It is what gives rise to intellectual virtues like reflectiveness, attentiveness, fairmindedness, intellectual carefulness and courage” (Virtuous Minds*, p13 )
Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone accepted that ‘all truth is relative’ and that it is okay for ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’ to be diametrically opposed? Doesn’t this idea contradict the actual definition of truth?