This text uses the educational objectives of Benjamin Bloom as six steps to criticalthinking (namely: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). The book starts with the absolute basics (for example, how to find the topic, issue, and thesis) vs. the usual "explaining and evaluating arguments" and fine distinctions that easily can lose students.
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)
"Crooked people deceive themselves in order to deceive others; in this way the world comes to ruin." This quote from a medieval Confucianist expresses the ethical danger of self-deception. My paper examines the psychological proclivity for self-deception and argues that it lies behind much social and interpersonal injustice. I review Hitler's Mein Kampf, as a premiere example of such cognitive duplicity, and Socratic dialectic, as an example of the cognitive hygiene necessary to combat it. I conclude that a robust educational (...) program of Socratic-style criticalthinking is crucial to the furtherance of a just society. (shrink)
After determining one set of skills that we hoped our students were learning in the introductory philosophy class at Carnegie Mellon University, we performed an experiment twice over the course of two semesters to test whether they were actually learning these skills. In addition, there were four different lectures of this course in the first semester, and five in the second; in each semester students in some lectures were taught the material using argument diagrams as a tool to aid understanding (...) and critical evaluation, while the other students were taught using more traditional methods. In each lecture, the students were given a pre-test at the beginning of the semester, and a structurally identical post-test at the end. We determined that the students did develop the skills in which we were interested over the course of the semester. We also determined that the students who were taught argument diagramming gained significantly more than the students who were not. We conclude that learning how to construct argument diagrams significantly improves a student’s ability to analyze arguments. (shrink)
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)
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)
: This paper develops four related claims: 1. Criticalthinking should focus more on decision making, 2. the heuristics and bias literature developed by cognitive psychologists and behavioral economists provides many insights into human irrationality which can be useful in criticalthinking instruction, 3. unfortunately the “rational choice” norms used by behavioral economists to identify “biased” decision making narrowly equate rational decision making with the efficient pursuit of individual satisfaction; deviations from these norms should not be (...) treated as an irrational bias, 4. a richer, procedural theory of rational decision making should be the basis for criticalthinking instruction in decision making. (shrink)
The way that criticalthinking has been framed as aneducational objective has led, on the one hand, to itssuccessful saturation of educational discourse and, onthe other, to an equation of criticalthinking withdemonstrable rhetorical skills. This essay suggeststhat both criticalthinking and obstacles tosuccessful criticalthinking are most commonly foundin the activities of everyday life. Humans deploycritical thinking in expressions of socialimagination, illuminations of our selves andrelationship, and in ethical choices and (...) publicengagements. By reframing criticalthinking,educators may find ways to enrich its exercise both inand out of the classroom. (shrink)
Although higher education understands the need to develop critical thinkers, it has not lived up to the task consistently. Students are graduating deficient in these skills, unprepared to think critically once in the workforce. Limited development of cognitive processing skills leads to less effective leaders. Various definitions of criticalthinking are examined to develop a general construct to guide the discussion as criticalthinking is linked to constructivism, leadership, and education. Most pedagogy is content-based built (...) on deep knowledge. Successful criticalthinking pedagogy is moving away from this paradigm, teaching students to think complexly. Some of the challenges faced by higher education moving to a criticalthinking curricula are discussed, and recommendations are offered for improving outcomes. (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.
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)
Extensively classroom-tested, CriticalThinking: An Introduction to Analytical Reading and Reasoning provides a non-technical 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 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. Designed for introductory courses in criticalthinking, critical reasoning, informal logic, and inductive reasoning, CriticalThinking features hundreds of exercises throughout and includes worked-out solutions and additional exercises (without solutions) at the end of each chapter. An Instructor's Manual, including solutions to the text's unanswered exercises and featuring other pedagogical aids, is available. (shrink)
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)
Theorists have hypothesized that skill in criticalthinking is positively correlated with the consistent internal motivation to think and that specific criticalthinking skills are matched with specific criticalthinking dispositions. If true, these assumptions suggest that a skill-focused curriculum would lead persons to be both willing and able to think. This essay presents a researchbased expert consensus definition of criticalthinking, argues that human dispositions are neither hidden nor unknowable, describes a (...) scientific process of developing conventional testing tools to measure cognitive skills and human dispositions, and summarizes recent empirical research findings that explore the possible relationship of criticalthinking skill and the consistent internal motivation, or disposition, to use that skill. Empirical studies indicate that for all practical purposes the hypothesized correlations are not evident. It would appear that effective teaching must include strategies for building intellectual character rather than relying exclusively on strengthening cognitive skills. (shrink)
Peer Instruction is a simple and effective technique you can use to make lectures more interactive, more engaging, and more effective learning experiences. Although well known in science and mathematics, the technique appears to be little known in the humanities. In this paper, we explain how Peer Instruction can be applied in philosophy lectures. We report the results from our own experience of using Peer Instruction in undergraduate courses in philosophy, formal logic, and criticalthinking. We have consistently (...) found it to be a highly effective method of improving the lecture experience for both students and the lecturer. (shrink)
From 2012 to 2015 I was the first Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied CriticalThinking at Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, NY. To the best of my knowledge it is the only such endowed position devoted solely to this at a major North American university. It was made possible by a generous 3 million dollar gift from an anonymous alumnus who wished to honor a retired faculty member who had taught for 51 years. The honoree was (...) revered for his devotion to Bloom’s taxonomy and his academic rigor, which infused case studies and the Socratic method. A primary motivation for the chair was a belief that an alarming number of college graduates lack the necessary criticalthinking skills in order to advance successfully in their careers. My responsibilities included collaborative leadership, advocacy and oversight for criticalthinking across the entire campus. It provided a unique opportunity to reflect on the current state of criticalthinking instruction–very broadly construed, as well as to examine its specific role at RIT, an institution with its own unique history, mission, and character. (shrink)
Based on a rather simple thesis that we can learn from our mistakes, Karl Popper developed a falsificationist epistemology in which knowledge grows through falsifying, or criticizing, our theories. According to him, knowledge, especially scientific knowledge, progresses through conjectures that are controlled by criticism, or attempted refutations . As he puts it, ‘Criticism of our conjectures is of decisive importance: by bringing out our mistakes it makes us understand the difficulties of the problem which we are trying to solve. This (...) is how we become better acquainted with our problem, and able to propose more mature solutions: the very refutation of a theory ... is always a step forward that takes us nearer to the truth. And this is how we can learn from our mistakes’ . Since criticism plays such a crucial role in Popper's falsificationist methodology, it seems natural to envisage his heuristic as a helpful resource for developing criticalthinking. However, there is much controversy in the psychological literature over the feasibility and utility of his falsificationism as a heuristic. In this paper, I first consider Popper's falsificationism within the framework of his critical rationalism, elucidating three core and interrelated concepts, viz. fallibilism, criticism, and verisimilitude. Then I argue that the implementation of Popper's falsificationism means exposing to criticism various philosophical presuppositions that work against criticism, such as essentialism, instrumentalism, and conventionalism; it also means combating what seems a common tendency of humans to be biased towards confirmation. I examine the confirmation bias, to which Popper did not give much attention: its pervasiveness and various guises, some theoretical explanations for it, and the role of teachers in undermining its strength and spread. Finally, I consider the question whether students can and should be taught to use disconfirmatory strategies for solving problems. (shrink)
The dual-process model of cognition but most especially its reflective component, system 2 processing, shows strong conceptual links with criticalthinking. In fact, the salient characteristics of system 2 processing are so strikingly close to that of criticalthinking, that it is tempting to claim that criticalthinking is system 2 processing, no more and no less. In this article, I consider the two sides of that claim: Does criticalthinking always require (...) system 2 processing? And does system 2 processing always result in criticalthinking? I argue that it is plausible and helpful to consider that criticalthinking requires system 2 processing. In particular, this assumption can provide interesting insights and benchmarks for criticalthinking education. On the other hand, I show that system 2 processing can result in a range of outcomes which are either contradictory with criticalthinking, or of debatable social desirability—which suggests that there is more to criticalthinking than mere system 2 processing, and more to system 2 processing than just criticalthinking. (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)
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)
As a philosophy professor, one of my central goals is to teach students to think critically. However, one difficulty with determining whether criticalthinking can be taught, or even measured, is that there is widespread disagreement over what criticalthinking actually is. Here, I reflect on several conceptions of criticalthinking, subjecting them to critical scrutiny. I also distinguish criticalthinking from other forms of mental processes with which it is often (...) conflated. Next, I present my own conception of criticalthinking, wherein it fundamentally consists in acquiring, developing, and exercising the ability to grasp inferential connections holding between statements. Finally, given this account of criticalthinking, and given recent studies in cognitive science, I suggest the most effective means for teaching students to think critically. (shrink)
CRITICALTHINKING AND PEDAGOGICAL LICENSE https://www.academia.edu/9273154/CRITICAL_THINKING_AND_PEDAGOGICAL_LICENSE JOHN CORCORAN.1999. Criticalthinking and pedagogical license. Manuscrito XXII, 109–116. Persian translation by Hassan Masoud. Please post your suggestions for corrections and alternative translations. -/- 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. (shrink)
Michael Huemer () argues that following the epistemic strategy of CriticalThinking—that is, thinking things through for oneself—leaves the agent epistemically either worse off or no better off than an alternative strategy of Credulity—that is, trusting the authorities. Therefore, CriticalThinking is not epistemically responsible. This article argues that Reasonable Credulity entails CriticalThinking, and since Reasonable Credulity is epistemically responsible, the CriticalThinking that it entails is epistemically responsible too.
In this article I argue that most biases in argumentation and decision-making can and should be counteracted. Although biases can prove beneficial in certain contexts, I contend that they are generally maladaptive and need correction. Yet criticalthinking alone seems insufficient to mitigate biases in everyday contexts. I develop a contextualist approach, according to which cognitive debiasing strategies need to be supplemented by extra-psychic devices that rely on social and environmental constraints in order to promote rational reasoning. Finally, (...) I examine several examples of contextual debiasing strategies and show how they can contribute to enhance criticalthinking at a cognitive level. (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)
Part one: Acquiring criticalthinking skills -- Out of the fog : the pathway to criticalthinking -- Nuts and bolts : the basics of argument -- Analysis : the heart of criticalthinking -- Handling claims, drawing inferences -- The logic machine : deductive and inductive reasoning -- Part two: Sharpening the tools -- The persuasive power of analogies -- Fallacies, fallacies : steering clear of argumentative quicksand -- Roll the dice : causal (...) and statistical reasoning -- Syllogisms -- Patterns of deductive reasoning: rules of inference -- Part three: Going out into the world -- Out of the silence: the power of language -- Desire and illusion: analyzing advertising -- Web sight : criticalthinking and the internet -- Voices and visions : the media -- Clearing the path : legal reasoning. (shrink)
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)
We note the development of the widely employed but loosely defined construct of criticalthinking from its earliest instantiations as a measure of individual ability to its current status, marked by efforts to better connect the construct to the socially-situated thinking demands of real life. Inquiry and argument are identified as key dimensions in a process-based account of criticalthinking. Argument is identified as a social practice, rather than a strictly individual competency. Yet, new empirical (...) evidence is presented documenting a role for individual reasoning competencies in supporting the effectiveness of argumentive discourse. A successful curriculum is described for employing extended engagement in dialogic argumentation as a pathway to development of individual argumentive skill. (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.
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)
The reasons conception is the most prominent account of the nature of criticalthinking. It consists in responding appropriately to reasons. Responding to reasons can be following a rule, it can be making an exception to a rule, it can be responding to a situation that is unique. It depends on the context each time what is the appropriate response. Criticalthinking is the educational cognate of rationality and is a sine qua non for a reasonable (...) life in a modern democratic society. Reasons are generally normative. If this is true then it is to be expected that criticalthinking is normative and also rationality. Criticalthinking consists in being appropriately moved by reasons. The normative element of reasons moves us to beliefs or actions. It depends on our character how reasons move us. This indicates that our character must be well formed to enable us to be appropriately moved. (shrink)
Most current conceptions of criticalthinking conceive of criticalthinking in terms of abilities and dispositions. In this paper I describe a common type of problem students experience with criticalthinking and argue that conceptualizations in terms of abilities and dispositions do not provide a way to understand this problem. I argue, further, that a useful way to think about the problem is in terms of epistemological understanding, and that this way of thinking (...) about the issue can provide both pedagogical and conceptual grounding to efforts to foster criticalthinking. (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)
Designed to immediately engage students and other readers in philosophical reflection, the new edition of Ethical Argument: CriticalThinking in Ethics bridges the gap between ethical theory and practice. This brief introduction combines a discussion of ethical theory with fundamental elements of criticalthinking--including informal fallacies and the basics of logic--and uses case studies and practical applications to illustrate concepts. Author Hugh Mercer Curtler presents a carefully formulated critique of ethical relativism, encouraging students to reason along (...) with him and to question his argument at every point. This approach enables students to think systematically about ethical issues and to acquire basic skills in argumentation at the same time. They will learn how to bring principles to bear on ethical conflict, how to weigh pros and cons, how to recognize good ethical reasons, and how to distinguish sound argumentation from rationalization. The second edition of Ethical Argument: CriticalThinking in Ethics includes new exercises and examples, summary boxes, cartoons, and sample dialogues that demonstrate how to effectively debate ethical positions. It features more than forty case studies on ethical issues that are interesting and relevant to students. An ideal core text for courses in introductory ethics, this concise volume can be used along with additional primary sources, case studies, or newspaper articles and novels. It is also a helpful supplementary text for courses in applied ethics--including professional, business, and medical ethics--and in criticalthinking. (shrink)
The problem of defining ‘criticalthinking’ needs a fresh approach. When one takes into consideration the sheer quantity of definitions and their obvious differences, an onlooker might be tempted to conclude that there is no inherent meaning to the term: that each author seems to consider that he or she is free to offer a definition that suits them. And, with a few exceptions, there has not been much discussion among proposers about the strength and weaknesses of the (...) attempted definitions. Therefore, the approach we will argue for here is a ‘meta-level approach’: proposers of new definitions of ‘criticalthinking’ should begin by arguing that none of the current crop of definitions is viable. They should then state what kind of definition they will offer; then provide the definition and show that it satisfies the criteria stated. Our position is that new definitions should follow this meta-level approach, in addition to avoiding some common pitfalls. (shrink)
In this essay, I first discuss the conditions set by theorists of democratic deliberation on proper deliberation. These conditions call for reasoned decisions from mutually acceptable premises. Next, I present the ideal of criticalthinking that should guide the citizen in this deliberation. I then examine the empirical literature on human reasoning. Some research results in the empirical literature paint a bleak picture of human rationality: we fall victim to heuristics and biases, persevere in our beliefs in the (...) face of contrary evidence, and justify our moral judgments by post hoc-reasoning. In addition, the deliberating groups have problems of their own. The groups may, for example, amplify errors or fall victim to information cascades. Though these epistemically detrimental processes can be overcome, they do present a challenge to our rationality. The essay concludes by arguing that the empirical evidence in fact supports an internalistic approach to group deliberation, a claim challenged by Solomon. (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)
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)
In this article, I will introduce and explore the critical spirit component of criticalthinking and defend it as significant for the adequate conceptualization of criticalthinking as an educational aim. The idea of critical spirit has been defended among others by such eminent supporters of criticalthinking as John Dewey, Israel Scheffler, and Harvey Siegel but has not thus far been explored and analyzed sufficiently. I will argue that the critical (...) spirit has, in addition to cognitive, also moral and emotional dimensions. Finally, I will touch upon some critiques which see that criticalthinking either does not or ought not to involve moral or emotional dimensions. (shrink)
Criticalthinking always involves logical and metacognitive skills. However, different modes of thinking critically with regard to psychology evince diverse sensibilities, that is, different ways of envisioning what might be wrong with a project or approach and how it could be improved. Fostering criticalthinking thus is about developing distinctive modes of responsiveness and discernment, of which there can be more than one type. Literature on criticalthinking for psychologists can be parsed into (...) several ideal types. Critical-thinking-in-psychology texts display a sensibility that accords great legitimacy and status to forms of psychological inquiry that emulate a certain vision of the natural sciences, as well as what Max Weber called formal rationality. Texts that advocate “criticalthinking about psychology” or identify themselves as “critical psychology” all argue that psychologists need to analyze and challenge fundamental assumptions that usually go unquestioned in the conventional literature, but they also diverge significantly from one another. They generally embody one or more of four distinctive sensibilities: experiential, relational, emancipatory-activist, or emancipatory-ironic. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (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)
The pace of change in the world is accelerating, yet educational institutions have not kept pace. Indeed, schools have historically been the most static of social institutions, uncritically passing down from generation to generation outmoded didactic, lecture-and-drill-based, models of instruction. Predictable results follow. Students, on the whole, do not learn how to work by, or think for, themselves. They do not learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize and assess information. They do not learn how to analyze the diverse logic of (...) the questions and problems they face and hence how to adjust their thinking to those problems. They do not learn how to enter sympathetically into the thinking of others, nor how to deal rationally with conflicting points of view. They do not learn to become critical readers, writers, speakers and listeners. They do not learn how to use their native languages clearly, precisely, or persuasively. They do not, therefore, become ‘literate’, in the proper sense of the word. Neither do they gain much in the way of genuine knowledge since, for the most part, they could not explain the basis for what they believe. They would be hard pressed to explain, for example, which of their beliefs were based on rational assent and which on simple conformity to what they have been told. They have little sense as to how they might critically analyze their own experience, or identify national or group bias in their own thinking. They are much more apt to learn on the basis of irrational than rational modes of thought. They lack the traits of mind of a genuinely educated person: intellectual humility, courage, integrity, perseverance, and faith in reason.Happily, there is a movement in education today striving to address these problems in a global way, with strategies and materials for the modification of instruction at all levels of education. At its foundation is an emerging new theory of knowledge, learning, and literacy, one which recognizes the centrality of independent criticalthinking to all substantial learning, one which recognizes that higher-order, multilogical thinking is as important to childhood as to adult learning, and as important to foundational learning in monological as in multilogical disciplines. This educational reform movement is not proposing an educational miracle cure, for its leading proponents recognize that many social and historical forces must come together before the ideals of the criticalthinking movement will become a full academic reality. Schools do not exist in a social vacuum. To the extent that the broader society is uncritical so, on the whole, will be society's schools. Nevertheless, the social conditions necessary for fundamental changes in schooling are increasingly apparent. The pressure for fundamental change is growing. Whether and to what extent these needed basic changes will be delayed or side-tracked, thus requiring new periodic resurgences of this movement, with new, more elaborate articulations of its ideals, goals, and methods — only time will tell. (shrink)
After critiquing the arguments against using formal logic to teach criticalthinking, this paper argues that for theoretical, practical, and empirical reasons, instruction in the fundamentals of formal logic is essential for criticalthinking, and so should be included in every class that purports to teach criticalthinking.
Connie Missimer (1990) challenges what she calls the Character View, according to which criticalthinking involves both skill and character, and argues for a rival conception-the Skill View-according to which criticalthinking is a matter of skill alone. In this paper I criticize the Skill View and defend the Character View from Missimer's critical arguments.
A critical study of McPeck's recent book, in which he strengthens and develops his arguments against teaching criticalthinking (CT). Accepting McPeck's basic claim that there is no unitary skill of reasoning or thinking, I argue that his strictures on CT courses or programs do not follow. I set out what I consider the proper justification that programs in CT have to meet, and argue both that McPeck demands much more than is required, and also that (...) it is plausible that this deflated justification can be met. Specitically, I argue that it is reasonable to expect transfer of learning for basic logical skills. Additional topics covered include: the relation ofliberal education to criticalthinking, argument analysis, testing for CT, and the value of conceptual or linguistic analysis. (shrink)
In traditional analytic philosophy, criticalthinking is defined along Cartesian lines as rational and linear reasoning preclusive of intuitions, emotions and lived experience. According to Michael Gilbert, this view – which he calls the Natural Light Theory (NLT) – fails because it arbitrarily excludes standard feminist forms of argumentation and neglects the essentially social nature of argumentation. In this paper, I argue that while Gilbert’s criticism is correct for argumentation in general, NLT fails in a distinctive and particularly (...) problematic manner in moral argumentation contexts. This is because NLT calls for disputants to adopt an impartial attitude, which overlooks the fact that moral disputants qua moral agents are necessarily partial to their own values and interests. Adopting the impartial perspective would therefore alienate them from their values and interests, causing a kind of “moral schizophrenia.” Finally, I urge a re-valuation of epistemic virtue in argumentation. (shrink)
A concept of criticalthinking is developed based on the Socratic method and called accordingly a Socratic model. First the features of criticalthinking stressed in this model are stated and illustrated. The Socratic method is presented and interpreted, then taken to yield a model of criticalthinking. The process of internalization by which the Socratic model helps us to become critical thinkers is described. Argument analysis is considered as a widely used instructional (...) strategy adaptable for teaching criticalthinking on the Socratic model. This Socratic model is advanced as one helpful way of organizing our ideas about criticalthinking, helpful in unifying disparate factors and anchoring them in the humanist tradition. (shrink)
The teaching of criticalthinking in public schooling is a central aim. Yet, despite its widespread acceptance in curriculum documents, criticalthinking is rarely taught. Motivated by Onosko (1991), and by the efforts of some post-secondary instructors of criticalthinking to get criticalthinking taught in schools, I look at the recent literature on (a) criticalthinking in the social studies, (b) definitions of, and programs in criticalthinking, (...) (c) teachers beliefs, and (d) the milieus in which teachers work. I pose three questions and provide tentative hypotheses as to why criticalthinking is not being implemented in schools. (shrink)
If Lipman’s claim that philosophy is the discipline whose central concern is thinking is true, then any attempt to improve students’ scientific criticalthinking ought to have a philosophical edge. This chapter explores that position. -/- The first section addresses the extent to which criticalthinking is general – applicable to all disciplines – or contextually bound, explores some competing accounts of what criticalthinking actually is and considers the extent to which scientific (...)thinking builds on, or is quite different from, generic thinking. Evidence that traditional science education does not teach scientific thinking well leads to the conclusion that some different pedagogical approach needs to be added to science curricula. -/- The second section surveys several approaches to ‘minds-on’ science education, each of which shares an emphasis on the students identifying areas of puzzlement, rigorous discussion of these puzzles, attention to metacognition and opportunities to address thinking across different contexts. -/- Finally, a summary of the main conclusions is followed by consideration of possible objections and suggestions as to further research that could help to clarify and fine-tune the teaching of good scientific thinking in primary and secondary schools. (shrink)