“Is open-mindedness necessary for intellectual well-being in education? Bringing together virtue, knowledge and well-being in initial teacher education”
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Is open-mindedness necessary for intellectual well-being in education? To answer this question this thesis draws on Aristotle‟s virtue ethics and virtue epistemology. It is argued that in order to understand eudaimonia (well-being) it is necessary to understand phronesis. In this regard, it is implied that in order to understand well-being, it is necessary to understand virtue, thus, well-being needs virtue(s). Just as Aristotelian virtue ethics defends the necessity of virtue(s) for well-being, virtue epistemology defends the priority of intellectual virtues for intellectual well-being. Unlike epistemology, virtue epistemology focuses on how an individual can be a good informant through the cultivation of intellectual virtues. To this end, this thesis proposes an alternative regulative educative virtue epistemology for intellectual well-being in education. In this context, open-mindedness is examined as an intellectual virtue that secures and facilitates other virtues both for individual and collective well-being in education. Bringing together White‟s and Nussbaum‟s seemingly opposed approaches to well-being, this thesis argues that a better theory of well-being in education must be one that equally combines a collective subjective major-informed desire theory with an individual objective list account of well-being. This account of well-being implies a certain understanding of intellectual open-mindedness. Drawing on Wolff‟s and De-Shalit‟s novel ideas of „secure‟ and „fertile functioning‟ as well as on Roberts‟ and Wood‟s „intellectual functionings‟, this thesis proposes a genuine intellectual open-mindedness that is both well-informed, reasonable, and necessary to „secure‟ and „fertile‟ „intellectual functionings‟ for intellectual well-being in education. Throughout the discussion, the thesis asserts that particular attention needs to be paid to the well-being of student teachers. Although it is widely accepted that pupils‟ well-being is important, less attention has been given to teachers‟ well-being. This thesis argues that teachers‟ and pupils‟ well-being is inextricably connected and initial teacher education should focus on student teachers‟ intellectual well-being as they constitute the future teaching workforce. The implications of how this account of well-being might inform Scottish initial teacher education programmes is addressed.