Tuesday, June 22 at 5pm ET

This session, led by Mathew Giagnorio, HxA student affiliate and philosophy major at Brock University, was an in-depth discussion about understanding opposition to viewpoint diversity. The discussion considered why there are individuals and groups who oppose viewpoint diversity and the exchange of diverse views and what effect narratives, language, and social networks (online and off) have on our convictions and openness to engage and exchange with and listen to others who we may disagree with. In addition, we looked at ways of how to understand the mindset of individuals and groups that support or challenge the plurality of views. Topics of fear, loneliness, freedom, and emotional investment and connection were covered.  Selections from “Belief” by James E. Cook, “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer, and “Not Born Yesterday” by Hugo Mercier were used throughout this discussion.

Some questions that participants considered:
Why is viewpoint diversity good? Why for many individuals and groups is the concept of communicating a plurality of perspectives with each other a difficult task? How do we at HxA defy the odds, especially in these times of deepening divides, by actively participating in conversations and exchanging views or positions that likely may not be held or viewed in the same way by all participants? And how do we bring into conversation individuals and groups that oppose viewpoint diversity because views that differ from their own challenge their beliefs? Can this mindset be changed? Are emotionally held views or beliefs stronger than our rationality? Are we at HxA just another group?  Were these individuals or groups ever truly a part of society? i.e., were they always on the fringe? What role does fear play in this? Is there a limit to the time or effort we choose to invest in engaging with these individuals or groups? Is to what extent are loneliness and isolation a factor?