CriticalThinking: An Introduction to Analytical Reading and Reasoning, Second Edition, provides a nontechnical vocabulary and analytic apparatus that guide students in identifying and articulating the central patterns found in reasoning and in expository writing more generally. Understanding these patterns of reasoning helps students to better analyze, evaluate, and construct arguments and to more easily comprehend the full range of everyday arguments found in ordinary journalism. CriticalThinking, Second Edition, distinguishes itself from other texts in the (...) field by emphasizing analytical reading as an essential skill. It also provides detailed coverage of argument analysis, diagnostic arguments, diagnostic patterns, and fallacies. Opening with two chapters on analytical reading that help students recognize what makes reasoning explicitly different from other expository activities, the text then presents an interrogative model of argument to guide them in the analysis and evaluation of reasoning. This model allows a detailed articulation of "inference to the best explanation" and gives students a view of the pervasiveness of this form of reasoning. The author demonstrates how many common argument types--from correlations to sampling--can be analyzed using this articulated form. He then extends the model to deal with several predictive and normative arguments and to display the value of the fallacy vocabulary. Ideal for introductory courses in criticalthinking, critical reasoning, informal logic, and inductive reasoning, CriticalThinking, Second Edition, features hundreds of exercises throughout and includes worked-out solutions and additional exercises at the end of each chapter. An Instructor's Manual--offering solutions to the text's unanswered exercises and featuring other pedagogical aids--is available on the book's Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/wright. (shrink)
This is Part I of a two-part reflection by Robert Ennis on his involvement in the criticalthinking movement. Part I deals with how he got started in the movement and with the development of his influential definition of criticalthinking and his conception of what criticalthinking involves. Part II of the reflection will appear in the next issue of INQUIRY, Vol. 26, No. 2, and it will cover topics concerned with assessing (...) class='Hi'>criticalthinking, teaching criticalthinking, and what the future may hold. (shrink)
This article challenges the common view that improvements in criticalthinking are best pursued by investigations in informal logic. From the perspective of research in psychology and neuroscience, hu-man inference is a process that is multimodal, parallel, and often emo-tional, which makes it unlike the linguistic, serial, and narrowly cog-nitive structure of arguments. At-tempts to improve inferential prac-tice need to consider psychological error tendencies, which are patterns of thinking that are natural for peo-ple but frequently lead to (...) mistakes in judgment. This article discusses two important but neglected error ten-dencies: motivated inference and fear-driven inference. (shrink)
There are empirical grounds to doubt the effectiveness of a common and intuitive approach to teaching debiasing strategies in criticalthinking courses. We summarize some of the grounds before suggesting a broader taxonomy of debiasing strategies. This four-level taxonomy enables a useful diagnosis of biasing factors and situations, and illuminates more strategies for more effective bias mitigation located in the shaping of situational factors and reasoning infrastructure—sometimes called “nudges” in the literature. The question, we contend, then becomes how (...) best to teach the construction and use of such infrastructures. (shrink)
This is Part I of a two-part reflection by Robert Ennis on his involvement in the criticalthinking movement. Part I deals with how he got started in the movement and with the development of his influential definition of criticalthinking and his conception of what criticalthinking involves. Part II of the reflection will appear in the next issue of INQUIRY, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 2011), and it will cover topics concerned with (...) assessing criticalthinking, teaching criticalthinking, and what the future may hold. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a cross-cultural critique of contemporary criticalthinking education in the United States, the United Kingdom, and those educational systems that adopt criticalthinking education from the standard model used in the US and UK. The cross-cultural critique rests on the idea that contemporary criticalthinking textbooks completely ignore contributions from non-western sources, such as those found in the African, Arabic, Buddhist, Jain, Mohist and Nyāya philosophical traditions. The exclusion of (...) these traditions leads to the conclusion that criticalthinking educators, by using standard textbooks are implicitly sending the message to their students that there are no important contributions to the study of logic and argumentation that derive from non-western sources. As a case study I offer a sustained analysis of the so-called Hindu Syllogism that derives from the Nyāya School of classical Indian philosophy. I close with a discussion of why contributions from non-western sources, such as the Hindu Syllogism, belong in a CriticalThinking course as opposed to an area studies course, such as Asian Philosophy. (shrink)
Assuming that criticalthinking dispositions are at least as important as criticalthinking abilities, Ennis examines the concept of criticalthinking disposition and suggests some criteria for judging sets of them. He considers a leading approach to their analysis and offers as an alternative a simpler set, including the disposition to seek alternatives and be open to them. After examining some gender-bias and subject-specificity challenges to promoting criticalthinking dispositions, he notes some (...) difficulties involved in assessing criticalthinking dispositions, and suggests an exploratory attempt to assess them. (shrink)
_Critical Thinking_ is a much-needed guide to thinking skills and above all to thinking critically for oneself. Through clear discussion, students learn the skills required to tell a good argument from a bad one. Key features include: *jargon-free discussion of key concepts in argumentation *how to avoid confusions surrounding words such as 'truth', 'knowledge' and 'opinion' *how to identify and evaluate the most common types of argument *how to spot fallacies in arguments and tell good reasoning from bad (...) *topical examples from politics, sport, medicine, music *chapter summaries, glossary and exercises _Critical Thinking_ is essential reading for anyone, student or professional, seeking to improve their reasoning and arguing skills. (shrink)
Teaching criticalthinking skill is a central pedagogical aim in many courses. These skills, it is hoped, will be both portable and durable. Yet, both of these virtues are challenged by pervasive and potent cognitive biases, such as motivated reasoning, false consensus bias and hindsight bias. In this paper, I argue that a focus on the development of metacognitive skill shows promise as a means to inculcate debiasing habits in students. Such habits will help students become more (...) class='Hi'>critical reasoners. I close with suggestions for implementing this strategy. (shrink)
This is the second part of a two-part reflection by Robert Ennis on his involvement in, and the progress of, the criticalthinking movement. It provides a summary of Part I, including his definition/conception of criticalthinking, the definition being “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.” It then examines the assessment and the teaching of criticalthinking, and makes suggestions regarding the future of criticalthinking. He (...) urges that now is the time to make a major effort in promoting criticalthinking. Later may be too late. He also suggests a number of things to do. An Appendix, which provides a detailed elaboration of the nature of criticalthinking, is at the end of Part I, but summaries are provided here. (shrink)
This book covers all the material typically addressed in first or second-year college courses in CriticalThinking: Chapter 1: CriticalThinking 1.1 What is criticalthinking? 1.2 What is criticalthinking not? Chapter 2: The Nature of Argument 2.1 Recognizing an Argument 2.2 Circular Arguments 2.3 Counterarguments 2.4 The Burden of Proof 2.5 Facts and Opinions 2.6 Deductive and Inductive Argument Chapter 3: The Structure of Argument 3.1 Convergent, Single 3.2 Convergent, Multiple (...) 3.3 Divergent Chapter 4: Relevance 4.1 Relevance 4.2 Errors of Relevance Chapter 5: Language 5.1 Clarity 5.2 Neutrality 5.3 Definition Chapter 6: Truth and Acceptability 6.1 How do we define truth? 6.2 How do we discover truth? 6.3 How do we evaluate claims of truth? Chapter 7: Generalizations, Analogies, and General Principles 7.1 Sufficiency 7.2 Generalizations 7.3 Analogies 7.4 General Principles Chapter 8: Inductive Argument – Causal Reasoning 8.1 Causation 8.2 Explanations 8.3 Predictions, Plans, and Policies 8.4 Errors in Causal Reasoning (Three additional chapters – categorical logic, propositional logic, thinking critically about ethics – are available on the companion website.) -/- Special Features: -/- - The book takes a practice approach to learning how to think critically, so there are LOTS of exercises (within each chapter, focusing on discrete skills, and at the end of each chapter, focusing on more global skills in a cumulative fashion – thinking critically about what one sees, hears, reads, writes, and discusses). -/- - There is an extensive “Answers, Explanations, and Analyses” section that provides not just ‘the right answer’ but explanations as to why the right answer is right and why wrong answers are wrong; when the exercise is not a matter of providing an answer but of analyzing material, a detailed analysis is provided in this section; this feature is intended to help the student fully understand why some arguments are better than others (and why it’s not ‘just a matter of opinion’!). -/- - The regularly-appearing end-of-chapter “Thinking critically when you discuss” exercise is carefully graduated throughout the text, to gently lead students from sounding like a bad tv talk show to being able to hold an intelligent discussion. -/- - The regularly-appearing end-of-chapter “Thinking critically about what you write” exercise assumes almost no skill at the beginning and leads up to, in the last chapter, writing a 2,000 word position paper. -/- - A critical analysis template (a step-by-step approach to critical analysis) is presented in the first chapter and at the beginning of each subsequent chapter, and specific reference to it is made at the beginning of each end-of-chapter “Thinking critically about what you read” exercise (consisting of ten bits of increasing difficulty); this feature is intended to encourage the development of habitual, thorough analysis of arguments. -/- - Actual questions from standardized reasoning tests like the LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, and GRE are included. -/- - Ancillaries include an instructor’s manual; a test bank; PowerPoint slides; downloadable MP3 study guides; and interactive flash cards. (shrink)
The concepts of autonomy and of criticalthinking play a central role in many contemporary accounts of the aims of education. This book analyses their relationship to each other and to education, exploring their roles in mortality and politics before examining the role of criticalthinking in fulfilling the educational aim of preparing young people for autonomy. The author analyses different senses of the terms 'autonomy' and 'criticalthinking' and the implications for education. Implications (...) of the discussion for contemporary practice are also considered. (shrink)
For centuries, philosophy has been considered as an intellectual activity requiring complex cognitive skills and predispositions related to complex (or critical) thinking. The Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach aims at the development of criticalthinking in pupils through philosophical dialogue. Some contest the introduction of P4C in the classroom, suggesting that the discussions it fosters are not philosophical in essence. In this text, we argue that P4C is philosophy.
Enhanced by many innovative exercises, examples, and pedagogical features, The Power of CriticalThinking: Effective Reasoning About Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims, Second Edition, explores the essentials of critical reasoning, argumentation, logic, and argumentative essay writing while also incorporating material on important topics that most other texts leave out. Author Lewis Vaughn offers comprehensive treatments of core topics, including an introduction to claims and arguments, discussions of propositional and categorical logic, and full coverage of the basics of inductive (...) reasoning. Building on this solid foundation, he also delves into areas neglected by other texts, adding extensive material on "inference to the best explanation" and on scientific reasoning; a thorough look at the evaluation of evidence and credibility; and a chapter on the psychological and social factors that can impede criticalthinking. Additional notable elements are a chapter on moral reasoning, advice on how to evaluate Internet sources, and guidelines for evaluating occult, paranormal, or supernatural claims. The Power of CriticalThinking, Second Edition, integrates many pedagogical features including hundreds of diverse exercises, examples, and illustrations; progressive, stand-alone writing modules; numerous text boxes; step-by-step guidelines for evaluating claims, arguments, and explanations; a glossary of important terms; and many reminders, summaries, and review notes throughout. The text is supplemented by a companion website at www.oup.com/us/criticalthinking (offering a student study guide and more), and an Instructor's Manual with Test Questions (available both in print and on a CD). This unique text features a modular structure that allows instructors to teach the chapters in almost any order. Written in a student-friendly style and enhanced by humor where appropriate, it is ideal for courses in criticalthinking, introduction to logic, informal logic, argumentative writing, and introduction to argumentation. New to the Second Edition * Full-color throughout and an expanded art program (37 more photos and illustrations) * A new writing module--an annotated sample student paper--and five additional essays for analysis * A new section on evaluating news reports and advertising * Timely discussions of intelligent design and population (nonintervention) studies * Expanded coverage of experts and authors and reasons to doubt their reliability * More "Field Problems" and exercise questions * Chapter objectives and key terms with definitions for each chapter. (shrink)
This essay offers a comprehensive vision for a higher education program incorporating criticalthinking across the curriculum at hypothetical Alpha College, employing a rigorous detailed conception of criticalthinking called “The Alpha Conception of CriticalThinking”. The program starts with a 1-year, required, freshman course, two-thirds of which focuses on a set of general criticalthinking dispositions and abilities. The final third uses subject-matter issues to reinforce general criticalthinking dispositions (...) and abilities, teach samples of subject matter, and introduce subject-specific criticalthinking. Subject-matter departmental and other units will make long-range plans for incorporating criticalthinking in varying amounts in subject-matter courses, culminating in a written Senior Thesis/Project involving investigating, taking, and defending a position, which reinforce criticalthinking abilities and dispositions and increase subject-matter knowledge. Teaching approaches used in the program are involving and based on the principle, “We learn what we use.” Both summative and formative assessment are employed as appropriate. Coordination and support are extensive. Objections and concerns are discussed, and alternatives, including possible transitions, are considered. An extended review of research supports moving toward CTAC. (shrink)
Computer-based argument mapping greatly enhances student criticalthinking, more than tripling absolute gains made by other methods. I describe the method and my experience as an outsider. Argument mapping often showed precisely how students were erring (for example: confusing helping premises for separate reasons), making it much easier for them to fix their errors.
This article provides somephilosophical ``groundwork'' for contemporary debatesabout the status of the idea(l) of criticalthinking.The major part of the article consists of a discussionof three conceptions of ``criticality,'' viz., criticaldogmatism, transcendental critique (Karl-Otto Apel),and deconstruction (Jacques Derrida). It is shown thatthese conceptions not only differ in their answer tothe question what it is ``to be critical.'' They alsoprovide different justifications for critique andhence different answers to the question what giveseach of them the ``right'' to be (...) class='Hi'>critical. It is arguedthat while transcendental critique is able to solvesome of the problems of the dogmatic approach tocriticality, deconstruction provides the most coherentand self-reflexive conception of critique. A crucialcharacteristic of the deconstructive style of critiqueis that this style is not motivated by the truth ofthe criterion (as in critical dogmatism) or by acertain conception of rationality (as intranscendental critique), but rather by a concern forjustice. It is suggested that this concern should becentral to any redescription of the idea(l) ofcritical thinking. (shrink)
Implementing criticalthinking across the curriculum is challenging, involving securing substantial agreement on the nature of criticalthinking, areas of prospective application, degree of need for a separate course, and the nature of coordination, including leadership, a glossary, selection of courses for incorporation, avoidance of duplication and gaps, acquiring required subject matter, and assessment of the total effort, teaching methods used, and decrease or increase in retention of subject matter.
Criticalthinking is in vogue - in colleges and universities as well as in elementary and secondary schools. This fact alone is enough to give us pause: seldom do shifts in academic fashion happen concurrently at all educational levels.
A narrative review of a 35-year career in criticalthinking reflecting an idiosyncratic approach to both practical and theoretical matters. The social as well as the intellectual context is described. Criticalthinking across the disciplines and metamathematics are discussed as alternatives to more standard perspectives such as informal logic.
Donald Trump has been a godsend for those of us who teach criticalthinking. For he is a fount of manipulative rhetoric, glaring fallacies, conspiracy theories, fake news, and bullshit. In this paper I draw on my own recent teaching experience in order to discuss both the usefulness and the limits of using Trump examples in teaching criticalthinking. In Section One I give the framework of the course; in Section Two I indicate Trump’s relevance to (...) many important concepts in the course; and in Section Three I argue that criticalthinking instructors should restrain themselves from overreliance on Trump-examples. (shrink)
Using a Solomon four-group design, we investigate the effect of a case-based criticalthinking intervention on students’ criticalthinking skills. We randomly assign 31 sessions of business classes to four groups and collect data from three sources: in-class performance, university records, and Internet surveys. Our 2 × 2 ANOVA results showed no significant between-subjects differences. Contrary to our expectations, students improve their criticalthinking skills, with or without the intervention. Female and Caucasian students improve (...) their criticalthinking skills, but males and non-Caucasian do not. Positive performance goals and negative mastery goals enhance and decrease improvements of their CTA scores, respectively. ACT and age are related to pre- and post-test. Gender is related to pre-test. GPA is related to post-test. Results shed light on the Pygmalion effect, the Galatea effect, ability, motivation, and opportunity as signals for human capital, and business ethics. (shrink)
A general outline of a theory of reasoned dialogue is presented as an underlying basis of critical analysis of a text of argument discourse. This theory is applied to the analysis of informal fallacies by showing how textual evidence can be brought to bear in argument reconstruction. Several basic types of dialogue are identified and described, but the persuasive type of dialogue is emphasized as being of key importance to criticalthinking theory.
The author describes a published symposium which debated Is CriticalThinking Biased? The symposium meant to address concerns about criticalthinking that are being expressed by feminist and postmodern scholars. However, through the author's critique, and the symposium respondent's, we learn the participants ended up begging the question of bias. The author maintains that the belief that criticalthinking is unbiased is based on an assumption that knowers can be separated from what is known. (...) She argues that criticalthinking is a tool which has no life of its own, it only has meaning and purpose when fallible, biased people use it (weak sense bias). She challenges the idea of a transcendental epistemological perspective, thus all knowledge is provisional and perspectival (strong sense bias). The author begins to redescribe a transformed criticalthinking as constructive thinking. (shrink)
This is Part I of a two-part reflection by Robert Ennis on his involvement in the criticalthinking movement. Part I deals with how he got started in the movement and with the development of his influential definition of criticalthinking and his conception of what criticalthinking involves. Part II of the reflection will appear in the next issue of INQUIRY, Vol. 26, No. 2 , and it will cover topics concerned with assessing (...)criticalthinking, teaching criticalthinking, and what the future may hold. (shrink)
This clear, learner-friendly text helps today's students bridge the gap between everyday culture and criticalthinking. The text covers all the basics of criticalthinking, beginning where students are, not where we think they should be. Its comprehensiveness allows instructors to tailor the material to their individual teaching styles, resulting in an exceptionally versatile text.
This paper argues that Moore's specifist defence of criticalthinking as ‘diverse modes of thought in the disciplines’, which appeared in Higher Education Research & Development, 30(3), 2011, is flawed as it entrenches relativist attitudes toward the important skill of criticalthinking. The paper outlines the criticalthinking debate, distinguishes between ‘top-down’, ‘bottom-up’ and ‘relativist’ approaches and locates Moore's account therein. It uses examples from one discipline-specific area, namely, the discipline of Literature, to show (...) that the generalist approach to criticalthinking does not ‘leave something out’ and outlines why teaching ‘generic’ criticalthinking skills is central to tertiary education, teaching and learning, and employment opportunities for students. The paper also defends the assessment of criticalthinking skills. (shrink)
Criticalthinking involves deliberate application of tests and standards to beliefs per se and to methods used to arrive at beliefs. Pedagogical license is authorization accorded to teachers permitting them to use otherwise illicit means in order to achieve pedagogical goals. Pedagogical license is thus analogous to poetic license or, more generally, to artistic license. Pedagogical license will be found to be pervasive in college teaching. This presentation suggests that criticalthinking courses emphasize two topics: first, (...) the nature and usefulness of criticalthinking; second, the nature and pervasiveness of pedagogical license. Awareness of pedagogical license alerts the student to the need for criticalthinking. Indoctrination is done to students; education is done by students. (shrink)
Discussions of criticalthinking across the curriculum typically make and explain points and distinctions that bear on one or a few standard issues. In this article Robert Ennis takes a different approach, starting with a fairly comprehensive concrete proposal for a four-year higher-education curriculum incorporating critical-thinking at hypothetical Wisdom University. Aspects of the Program include a one-year criticalthinking freshman course with practical everyday-life and academic criticalthinking goals; extensive infusion of (...) class='Hi'>criticalthinking in other courses; a senior project; attention to both criticalthinking dispositions and skills; a glossary of criticalthinking terms; emphasis on teaching ; communication at all levels; and last, but definitely not least, assessment. Advantages and disadvantages will be noted. Subsequently, Ennis takes and defends a position on each of several relevant controversial issues, including: 1) having a separate criticalthinking course, or embedding criticalthinking in existing subject matter courses, or doing both ; 2) the meaning of “criticalthinking”; 3) the importance of teaching criticalthinking because of its role in our everyday vocational, civic, and personal lives, as well as in our academic experiences; 4) the degree of subject-specificity of criticalthinking; 5) the importance of making criticalthinking principles explicit; and 6) the possible threat to subject matter coverage from the addition of criticalthinking to the curriculum. (shrink)
In the late 20th century theorists within the radical feminist tradition such as Haraway highlighted the impossibility of separating knowledge from knowers, grounding firmly the idea that embodied bias can and does make its way into argument. Along a similar vein, Moulton exposed a gendered theme within criticalthinking that casts the feminine as toxic ‘unreason’ and the ideal knower as distinctly masculine; framing criticalthinking as a method of masculine knowers fighting off feminine ‘unreason’. Theorists (...) such as Burrow have picked up upon this tradition, exploring the ways in which this theme of overly masculine, or ‘adversarial’, argumentation is both unnecessary and serves as an ineffective base for obtaining truth. Rooney further highlighted how this unnecessarily gendered context results in argumentative double binds for women, undermining their authority and stifling much-needed diversity within philosophy as a discipline.These are damning charges that warrant a response within criticalthinking frameworks. We suggest that the broader criticalthinking literature, primarily that found within contexts of critical pedagogy and dispositional schools, can and should be harnessed within the criticalthinking literature to bridge the gap between classical and feminist thinkers. We highlight several methods by which philosophy can retain the functionality of criticalthinking while mitigating the obstacles presented by feminist critics and highlight how the adoption of such methods not only improves criticalthinking, but is also beneficial to philosophy, philosophers and feminists alike. (shrink)
This paper introduces some of the debates in the field of criticalthinking by highlighting differences among thinkers such as Siegel, Ennis, Paul, McPeck, and Martin, and poses some questions that arise from these debates. Does rationality transcend particular cultures, or are there different kinds of thinking, different styles of reasoning? What is the relationship between criticalthinking and learning? In what ways does the moral domain overlap with these largely epistemic and pedagogical issues? The (...) paper concludes by showing how Peters, Evers, Chan and Yan, Ryan and Louie, Luntley, Lam, Doddington, and Kwak, respond to these questions. (shrink)
Criticalthinking is considered an essential educational goal. As a result, many philosophers dreamed their departments would offer multiple sections of CT, hence justifying hiring additional staff. Unfortunately, this dream did not materialize. So, similar to a current theory about teaching writing, “criticalthinking across the curriculum” has become a popular idea. While the idea has appeal and unquestionable merit, I will argue that the likelihood the skills necessary for effective CT will actually be taught is (...) minimal. (shrink)
Should we always engage in criticalthinking about issues of public policy, such as health care, gun control, and LGBT rights? Michael Huemer (2005) has argued for the claim that in some cases it is not epistemically responsible to engage in criticalthinking on these issues. His argument is based on a reliabilist conception of the value of criticalthinking. This article analyzes Huemer's argument against the epistemic responsibility of criticalthinking by (...) engaging it critically. It presents an alternative account of the value of criticalthinking that is tied to the notion of forming and deploying a critical identity. And it develops an account of our epistemic responsibility to engage in criticalthinking that is not dependent on reliability considerations alone. The primary purpose of the article is to provide criticalthinking students, or those that wish to reflect on the value of criticalthinking, with an opportunity to think metacritically about criticalthinking by examining an argument that engages the question of whether it is epistemically responsible for one to engage in criticalthinking. (shrink)
“Criticalthinking in higher education” is a phrase that means many things to many people. It is a broad church. Does it mean a propensity for finding fault? Does it refer to an analytical method? Does it mean an ethical attitude or a disposition? Does it mean all of the above? Educating to develop critical intellectuals and the Marxist concept of critical consciousness are very different from the logician’s toolkit of finding fallacies in passages of text, (...) or the practice of identifying and distinguishing valid from invalid syllogisms. Criticalthinking in higher education can also encompass debates about critical pedagogy, i.e., political critiques of the role and function of education in society, critical feminist approaches to curriculum, issues related to what has become known as critical citizenship, or any other education-related topic that uses the appellation “critical”. Equally, it can, and usually does, refer to the importance and centrality of developing general skills in reasoning—skills that we hope all graduates possess. Yet, despite more than four decades of dedicated scholarly work “criticalthinking” remains as elusive as ever. As a concept, it is, as Raymond Williams has noted, a ‘most difficult one’ (Williams, 1976, p. 74). (shrink)
This paper argues that general skills and the varieties of subject-specific discourse are both important for teaching, learning and practising criticalthinking. The former is important because it outlines the principles of good reasoning simpliciter (what constitutes sound reasoning patterns, invalid inferences, and so on). The latter is important because it outlines how the general principles are used and deployed in the service of ‘academic tribes’. Because criticalthinking skills are—in part, at least—general skills, they can (...) be applied to all disciplines and subject-matter indiscriminately. General skills can help us assess reasoning independently of the vagaries of the linguistic discourse we express arguments in. The paper looks at the debate between the ‘specifists’—those who stress the importance of criticalthinking understood as a subject-specific discourse—and the ‘generalists’—those that stress the importance of criticalthinking understood independently of disciplinary context. The paper suggests that the ‘debate’ between the specifists and the generalists amounts to a fallacy of the false alternative, and presents a combinatory-‘infusion’ approach to criticalthinking. (shrink)
Although the relationship between the classroom learning environment and academic achievement has been explored in subject-free and disciplinary subject contexts, research into this relationship is still lacking in the context of interdisciplinary subjects. This study investigated the relationship between the classroom learning environment and student achievement in an interdisciplinary subject in Hong Kong secondary schools. The mediating role of criticalthinking was also explored. The participants were 410 Hong Kong secondary school graduates. The structural equation modelling analyses indicated (...) that the Content aspect of the classroom learning environment had an effect on the achievement in liberal studies, and this effect was not mediated by criticalthinking; the Pedagogy aspect predicted criticalthinking skills, which in turn predicted the achievement in liberal studies; the Relation aspect had no significant effects on criticalthinking skills and studen... (shrink)