Intellectual Humility

What is intellectual humility?

Intellectual humility is an epistemic virtue that allows us to accept our own limitations and recognize others' strengths in obtaining information and evaluating evidence when we form our beliefs and knowledge, and thus open to considering different views and revising our beliefs in light of new evidence.1

What are the characteristics of intellectually humble people?


Intellectually humble people are generally more open to new ideas and experiences, as well as pay more attention to the basis of their own beliefs.2 Those with higher levels of intellectual humility are also more likely to admit their own beliefs may be wrong or inaccurate.3


Intellectually humble people tend to have more curiosity and get enjoyment when exploring knowledge.3 The low preference for definite answers is also related to high intellectual humility.4


Intellectually humble people are more accepting with their intellectually fallibility emotionally. They have smaller emotional reactions to arguments/people contrary to themselves.5 Though they’re also adequately uncomfortable with their fallibility, they take it as a motivation to correct themselves.6


Intellectually humble people consider and evaluate more about information and incorporate others’ ideas into modification of their opinions. They showcase more prosocial behaviors and attribute benevolent reasons to why people disagree.4

Why does intellectual humility matter?

There are many benefits of being intellectually humble for individuals and societies. Intellectually humble people are generally more tolerant of views or beliefs that are different from their own.4 Higher levels of intellectual humility are also related to better interpersonal skills such as showing empathy, making decisions, and building successful relationships.7