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ABSTRACT. This paper undertakes a detailed conceptual analysis of openness as an educational virtue. It begins with Aristotle’s classic account of intellectual and moral virtues in the Nichomachean Ethics, turns briefly to the broader intellectual currents that might be said to have contributed to an emerging philosophy of openness, and then pays detailed attention to the work of the Brazilian educationist, Paulo Freire. I argue that, from a Freirean perspective, openness is inclusive of, but not limited to, open-mindedness. Openness, I suggest, has ontological, epistemological and ethical dimensions, and can be understood as a principle for both lifelong learning and social organisation. I contrast openness with various forms of closure and discuss its links with other virtues in Freirean education. I conclude by discussing limits and possibilities in both Freire’s work and the idea of openness. pp. 9–24

Keywords: openness, educational virtue, Aristotle, Freire, lifelong learning

PETER ROBERTS
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University of Canterbury

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