Science and Philosophy (2020)

Authors
Kristina Grob
University Of South Carolina Sumter
Nathan Nobis
Morehouse College
Abstract
For the past few years in the United States, almost daily there’s a headline about new proposed abortions restrictions. Conservatives cheer, liberals despair. But who is right here? Should abortion be generally legal or should it be banned? Is it usually immoral or is it usually not wrong at all? These same questions, of course, are asked in other countries. To many people, answers to these questions seem obvious, and people with different or contrary answers are, well, just wrong. But how can we know? In particular, could anyone know that abortion is not wrong and should be legal? If so, how? And how would anyone effectively, persuasively, communicate that knowledge? One important set of answers depends on this idea: critical thinking. Critical thinking can help people know, not merely believe or feel, that their perspectives on issues are true or correct, and it can help them persuade others to understand and accept that knowledge. We are philosophy professors who teach courses in critical thinking and its applications to ethical, political, scientific, and legal issues. In our 2019 open-access book, Thinking Critically About Abortion: Why Most Abortions Aren’t Wrong & Why All Abortions Should be Legal, we apply well-confirmed methods of critical thinking to the most discussed arguments about abortion. Critical thinking can be operationalized as skills. Three key critical thinking skills involve defining words, identifying the structures of arguments, and evaluating explanations. Understanding these and other critical thinking skills can only help improve conversations and advocacy about abortion. Let’s see them in action.
Keywords abortion  ethics  teaching philosophy  public philosophy  bioethics
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