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Nullo's avatar

When one person calls another "closed-minded", is he more likely to be making an observation, or saying that his opposite doesn't agree with him?

Asked by Nullo (21944points) February 16th, 2010

For instance, every time that I’ve been called closed-minded, it’s been because I don’t agree with whatever the person that I’m dealing with has to say.

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16 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It is hard to tell without the context of the conversation.

It could be the former, but you refuse to see it, or the latter and the person is just calling you close-minded, because they disagree with you.

lilikoi's avatar

Are you sure about that?

ninjacolin's avatar

my conclusion on the matter is that “close minded” describes a person in a state of unpreparedness (and hence, the person is momentarily unable) to agree.

that state can change under different conditions. a person can become prepared over time.

Vunessuh's avatar

Very rarely have I ever seen someone call someone else close-minded and actually have a good reason for it other than that they don’t agree.
In my opinion, it’s rarely an accusation that’s used properly.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

In my opinion, you’re trying to steer the answers in one direction.

You must be closed-minded.

ninjacolin's avatar

in my opinion, the free will fallacy leads a lot of people into believing that their opponents are “being” close minded. they assume that the source of disagreement is “unwillingness” to agree, a free will choice to disagree for the sake of it. however, disagreements exist simply when a person is unable to agree for rational reasons. those rational reasons may be ill-informed, fallacious and wrong.. or they may be entirely accurate, truthful and good. regardless, they are sufficient reasons to necessitate disagreement.

so, to answer the main question: When someone calls their opposite “close minded,” I think it works out to be an observation that their opposite is unable to agree due to an overwhelming number of bad reasons.

eg. “I have to go to work so i can’t get into the details, but you’re wrong” = “you’re too close minded to agree!”

ETpro's avatar

It can be either. There is certainly such a thing as having a closed mind, and that state is easily observed by others. So when someone makes the accusation, they may be spot on.

However, in political debates, I see wing-nuts routinely accusing others of being closed minded while refusing to even read articles supporting their oponent’s position because the article/s are on a “biased” news or media source. What they are in essence saying is that everyone who reads outsidfe my tiny sphere of think-alike sources is closed minded because they are in possession of facts I refuse to even review. Pretty absurd.

davidbetterman's avatar

That would be a clever response, @ninjacolin were the Free Will reality a fallacy.
Your disbelief of such makes you close-minded!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

“Closed minded” usually means they are closed minded only to a particular viewpoint.

I don’t find it to be a useful categorization. When those two words are bandied about, it’s usually an indcator that the constructive part of the discussion has ended.

ninjacolin's avatar

@davidbetterman it could be said that i am close minded about the in-existence of free will for the following reason: determinism makes logical sense to me while free will doesn’t. as long as this is true, i’m practically close minded about it. :)

Berserker's avatar

Being open minded is extremely difficult and goes against the human nature. I daresay it’s nigh impossible, and say just because you’re some freaky Goth who likes all this weird shit that generally everyone doesn’t enjoy, that doesn’t make you any more open minded than anyone else.
Everyone has some bias or discontentment, usually unfounded, against something else, be it a type of person, ideologies, hobbies, interests or mentalities, many of which might never even be much defined without a contrast to compare it to.
(Japanese animation is only as annoying as its fans for example haha, and conservatism and liberalism probably wouldn’t even exist as we know it today if they didn’t have one another to fight and bicker with alla time.)

With that said I imagine that it’s easy to think everyone is closed minded ecxept ourselves when we’re convinced that we can do no wrong and are better than everyone else. I wouldn’t even mention that, but it’s certainly the kinda scheme that such accusations usually seem to revolve around, rather than much else.

Or so those are my thoughts, and I certainly do not exclude myself from it. Like something I was saying earlier, anyone trying to be different for the sake of being different is no more different than all those people being different for the sake of being different.
Essentially everyone is closed minded in some way, whatever their path is. The mentality which defines the path don’t change. Wars always have two or more sides, after all.


Being “closed minded” establishes a sense of commune and importance, which is, essentially, a major factor which defines society. So you just can’t accept everything, and as far as I see accusing someone fo being narrow minded is thrown around much too loosely. I think it’s merely self projection, most especially when the accusation stands out a whole lot more than the actual reason which may spawn said accusation.

We can all enjoy and like different things but the mentality remains the same.

In other words I’d wager it’s just people having a hissy fit because you don’t like or approve of what they like or approve of, which returns once again to defining one’s self and importance through ideals and all.

Not saying it’s a bad thing, and I may totally be off my rocker but that’s how I think people work on smaller than global scale senses of identification and individuality. And even then.

And I use you as general you so I don’t get flamed by anyone who might take it personally, (But if the hat fits wear it haha.) and again, I certainly don’t exclude my own self from this.

Self projection? Probably.

But I already admitted so I don’t count. lawl

Arisztid's avatar

It depends on the person saying it.

I have seen it used to shoot down and shut up someone you disagree with. In these cases it is, to me, admission of defeat in a debate.

Other times it is used because the person thinks the one they are describing is closed minded and talking to the person is like banging your head against the wall. To me that is when the other party simply will not consider another POV.

I have not had enough dealings with you, @Nullo , to determine if you are closed minded.

YARNLADY's avatar

Usually when a person has to resort to name-calling in a discussion, it’s because he has run out of reasonable things to say.

ETpro's avatar

@ninjacolin I would argue that believing in things that are beyond proof, that predict nothing, and that cannot be tested is not productive and is closed-minded.

I can theorize that while free will appears to exist, it really doesn’t. I can theorize that it is an illusion due to our immersion in a deterministic universe, fooling ourselves into believing we decided to do what was in fact pre-ordained for us. But there is no test I can mount to prove it. I can’t predict anything with it. Without the roadmap of predestination, the theory is useless to me. So why cross Occam’s Razor and theorize it? I am better off believing I have a free will, and that if I go up on the roof of this high-rise, I can choose to NOT step over the ledge.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

Disagreement is one thing, but a supreme unwillingness to look at any important issue from more than one perspective or refusal to accept those facts which might not back up your own opinion are classic definitions of closed-mindedness. Free will does enter into the equation with regard to the amount of and sources of input that you are willing to accept in forming your opinion. However, an opinion is what we are left with when we have accurately assessed all the facts that are available. Therefore, accepting anything less than ‘all-of-the-facts’ IS closing one’s mind.

Bear in mind that such input should be factual and not imagined.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Symbeline Hit the nail on the head for me. GA.

I have noticed how some people that claim to be really opened minded are in fact as closed minded as the rest of us. For example, there are plenty of people that I can think of that claim to be liberal and open minded and yet they find the burqua offensive. The way I see it, if you are open minded then you should accept all ways of life (providing that no one is being harmed) even if you don’t necessarily agree with it or wouldn’t choose to do it yourself. If someone chooses to wear a burqua then someone who claims to be open minded should accept that. I know many that don’t.

Please don’t jump on my burqua example as it was just that, an example from something I have experienced personally.

I think it is very difficult to be 100% open minded and I can’t think of a single person that I would say is. I can think of people that are open minded about certain issues but are close minded on some. Open minded also means (to me at least) that you aren’t knowledgable enough on a subject to have an opinion on it and so you are open to learn in order to form an opinion.

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