Intellectual Arrogance and Intellectual Cowardice

Date:  2021-03-12 16:15:04
2 pages  (520 words)
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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A well-cultivated critical thinker asks pertinent questions, assesses them clearly and precisely, has an interest in findings solutions for causes of problems, and is an attentive listener. Additionally, critical thinkers attempt to reason at the highest level of quality in an open-minded state while communicating effectively with others to come up with solutions to complex issues. Apart from these common attributes, other imperative traits of critical thinkers include intellectual arrogance and intellectual cowardice.

Intellectual Arrogance

According to a study done at Baylor University in 2015, the surprising finding is that people, who think they know everything, might actually be on to something. From this, we can delineate that intellectual arrogance is the opposite of intellectual humility and that it refers to the lack of consciousness of one's knowledge with no insight to the limitations of one's perception. Intellectual arrogant individuals claim to know it all. The argument and correlation of intellectual arrogance to critical thinking is that people who are intellectually arrogant translate what they know to increase their performance in their related fields such as academics. It is more likely that students who are intellectually arrogant get better grades in school than those who are intellectually humble (Meagher and Leman, 2015). A good example of this attribute in real life is people who are not open to criticism and ideas and still in succeed in life. Personally, I can reflect on this because I have friends in school who act like they know everything and are arrogant to people's critics or ideas, but ironically they still end up leading in their grades.

Intellectual Cowardice

It is defined as the fear of standing by one's ideas. For example, a scientist might show intellectual cowardice by presenting data on a particular subject but fails to stand by it as a good one. Intellectual cowardice is motivated by the fear of being marked as wrong despite intellectual accomplishment. But why is intellectual cowardice an attribute of a critical thinker? In an ideal world, we should not care about the attitudes adopted towards the claims. It is important to realize that critical thinkers are aware of the tendency to be intellectual cowards and therefore, seek to cultivate its opposite; intellectual courage in their action and thoughts (Paul and Elder, 2013, p.395). From a personal perspective, critical thinkers identify only to their beliefs and are ready to abandon beliefs that are not supported by rationale. For instance, a successful company such as Apple Inc is known to be secretive in its internal operations by preserving what is habitual in their thoughts. It is deeply held in its beliefs and does not seek criticism of its products during the product development process; this can also be termed as intellectual cowardice because the company stands by its ideas and beliefs. Consequently, through this self-perception, Apple is well regarded among the worlds most successful companies.



Meagher, B., & Leman, J. (2015). Contrasting self-report and consensus ratings of intellectual humility and arrogance. Journal Of Research In Personality, 58, 35-45.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2013). Critical thinking (2nd ed., p. 385). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.



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