The Legitimacy of Critical Thinking: Political Liberalism and Compulsory Schooling

Thinking 18 (1) (2007)
This essay examines the political-philosophical legitimacy of critical thinking as an aim of compulsory education. Although critical thinking is given an important role in Norwegian educational policy, the right to demand a critical attitude from all citizens has been extensively debated in political and pedagogical philosophy the last two decades. This debate stems in large part from the late work of John Rawls. In this essay, I start by stating the case for critical thinking as an educational aim, focusing on democratic education. Next, I give an account of the challenge that Rawls’ later philosophy puts to education for critical thinking. Finally, I discuss some possible ways of responding to the Rawls. The upshot will be that some aspects of critical thinking can and must be defended as politically legitimate. However, any such defence must include a reply to the Rawlsian argument – if not, it will simply be naïve. In that sense, much Norwegian educational policy has been naïve.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,305
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jennifer Wilson Mulnix (2010). Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking. Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (5):464-479.
Lori Richter (2011). Questions About Critical Thinking. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 26 (2):37-43.
Robert Ennis (1991). Critical Thinking. Teaching Philosophy 14 (1):4-18.

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

Added to index


Total downloads


Recent downloads (6 months)


How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.