Do we reason when we think we reason, or do we think?

If the open society is a society that ‘sets free the critical powers of man’ (Popper, 1945, Introduction), then the subject of critical thinking, now widely taught in universities in North America and at the level of further education in the UK, might seem to be a welcome innovation. Caution is advised. By mistakenly supposing that thinking intelligently is identical with thinking logically, critical thinking textbooks almost invariably regard the purpose of argument to be a combination of justification and persuasion, authoritarian goals that critical rationalists, and other supporters of the open society, must shun. If students do not learn the proper place of reason, and its limitations, they will be disappointed when it fails, and like many irrationalists in the past, may be induced to reason their way out of reason altogether.
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