On Intellectual Humility, Peter Salovey, President of Yale University, May 22, 2022
Indeed, wisdom is rooted in this willingness – this responsibility – to entertain ideas brought to you by others. To listen carefully. To think critically. To challenge your views – and then to change them when the discovery of truth demands it.
Today, I wish to focus on the courage to acknowledge all we do not know, to admit when we are wrong, and to change our minds.
As Justice Sonya Sotomayor said recently, “It is, I fear, too easy for people to fail to listen when what they’re hearing is different than what they think.”
As we know, engaging with those who hold profoundly different perspectives threatens not to betray our beliefs, but to broaden them. Listening to that with which we may disagree is an act not of conciliation, but of fidelity to truth. And admitting what we got wrong is no sign of failure, but a necessary step toward knowledge.