“Critical thinking 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. Critical thinking 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 “critical thinking” 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 critical thinking. 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 critical thinking 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 critical thinking understood as a subject-specific discourse—and the ‘generalists’—those that stress the importance of critical thinking 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 critical thinking. (shrink)
We provide a battery of examples of delusions against which theoretical accounts can be tested. Then, we identify neuropsychological anomalies that could produce the unusual experiences that may lead, in turn, to the delusions in our battery. However, we argue against Maher’s view that delusions are false beliefs that arise as normal responses to anomalous experiences. We propose, instead, that a second factor is required to account for the transition from unusual experience to delusional belief. The second factor in the (...) aetiology of delusions can be described superficially as a loss of the ability to reject a candidate for belief on the grounds of its implausibility and its inconsistency with everything else that the patient knows. But we point out some problems that confront any attempt to say more about the nature of this second factor. (shrink)
Many philosophers and psychologists argue that normal adult human beings possess a primitive or 'folk' psychological theory. Recently, however, this theory has come under challenge from the simulation alternative. This alternative view says that human bings are able to predict and explain each others' actions by using the resources of their own minds to simuate the psychological etiology of the actions of others. The thirteen essays in this volume present the foundations of theory of mind debate, and are accompanied by (...) an extensive introduction. (shrink)
Article copyright 2002. We provide a battery of examples of delusions against which theoretical accounts can be tested. Then we identify neuropsychological anomalies that could produce the unusual experiences that may lead, in turn, to the delusions in our battery. However, we argue against Maher's view that delusions are false beliefs that arise as normal responses to anomalous experiences. We propose, instead, that a second factor is required to account for the transition from unusual experience to delusional belief. The second (...) factor in the etiology of delusions can be described superficially as a loss of the ability to reject a candidate for belief on the grounds of its implausibility and its inconsistency with everything else that the patient knows, but we point out some problems that confront any attempt to say more about the nature of this second factor. (shrink)
Argument mapping is a way of diagramming the logical structure of an argument to explicitly and concisely represent reasoning. The use of argument mapping in critical thinking instruction has increased dramatically in recent decades. This paper overviews the innovation and provides a procedural approach for new teaches wanting to use argument mapping in the classroom. A brief history of argument mapping is provided at the end of this paper.
This paper addresses a problem about epistemic warrant. The problem is posed by philosophical arguments for externalism about the contents of thoughts, and similarly by philosophical arguments for architecturalism about thinking, when these arguments are put together with a thesis of first person authority. In each case, first personal knowledge about our thoughts plus the kind of knowledge that is provided by a philosophical argument seem, together, to open an unacceptably ‘non-empirical’ route to knowledge of empirical facts. Furthermore, this unwelcome (...) prospect of transferring a ‘non-empirical’ warrant from premises about our own mental states and about philosophical theory to a conclusion about external environment or internal architecture seems to depend upon little more than the possibility of knowledge by inference. (The use of the scare-quoted term ‘non-empirical’ is explained a couple of paragraphs further on.). (shrink)
He then argues that (1), (2) and (3) constitute an inconsistent triad as follows (1991, p. 15): Suppose (1) that Oscar knows a priori that he is thinking that water is wet. Then by (2), Oscar can simply deduce E, using premisses that are knowable a priori, including the premiss that he is thinking that water is wet. Since Oscar can deduce E from premisses that are knowable a priori, Oscar can know E itself a priori. But this contradicts (3), (...) the assumption that E cannot be known a priori. Hence (1), (2), and (3) are inconsistent. McKinsey’s conclusion is that ‘anti-individualism is inconsistent with privileged access’ (ibid.). (shrink)
[I]f you could know a priori that you are in a given mental state, and your being in that state conceptually or logically implies the existence of external objects, then you could know a priori that the external world exists. Since you obviously _can.
This paper explores early Australasian philosophy in some detail. Two approaches have dominated Western philosophy in Australia: idealism and materialism. Idealism was prevalent between the 1880s and the 1930s, but dissipated thereafter. Idealism in Australia often reflected Kantian themes, but it also reflected the revival of interest in Hegel through the work of ‘absolute idealists’ such as T. H. Green, F. H. Bradley, and Henry Jones. A number of the early New Zealand philosophers were also educated in the idealist tradition (...) and were influential in their communities, but produced relatively little. In Australia, materialism gained prominence through the work of John Anderson, who arrived in Australia in 1927, and continues to be influential. John Anderson had been a student of Henry Jones, who might therefore be said to have influenced both main strands of Australian philosophical thought. (shrink)
This paper argues that Moore's specifist defence of critical thinking 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 critical thinking. The paper outlines the critical thinking 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 critical (...) thinking does not ‘leave something out’ and outlines why teaching ‘generic’ critical thinking skills is central to tertiary education, teaching and learning, and employment opportunities for students. The paper also defends the assessment of critical thinking skills. (shrink)
who are unrecognizable because they are in disguise. ¼ The person I see in the mirror is not really me. ¼ A person I knew who died is nevertheless in the hospital ward today. ¼ This arm [the speaker’s left arm] is not mine it is yours; you have..
In his paper ‘Scmantic Theory and Tacit Knowlcdgc’, Gareth Evans uscs a familiar kind of cxamplc in ordcr to render vivid his account of tacit knowledge. We arc to consider a finite language, with just one hundrcd scntcnccs. Each scntcncc is made up of a subjcct (a name) and a prcdicatc. The names are ‘a’, ‘b’, . . ., T. The prcdicatcs arc ‘F’, ‘G’, . . ., ‘O’. Thc scntcnccs have meanings which dcpcnd in a systematic way upon their (...) construction. Thus, all scntcnccs containing ‘a’ mean something about john; all scntcnccs containing ‘b’ mean something about Harry; all scntcnccs containing ‘F’ mean something about being bald; all scntcnccs containing ‘G’ mean something about being happy; and so 011. For this vcry simple language L, wc arc to consider various semantic theories. We could consider thcorics whosc dclivcranccs about wholc scntcnccs are of.. (shrink)
In this book, psychologists and philosophers describe and discuss a range of case studies of delusional beliefs, drawing out general lessons both for the cognitive architecture of the mind and for the notion of rationality, and exploring connections between the delusional beliefs that occur in schizophrenia and the flawed understanding of beliefs that is characteristic of autism.
I review and reconsider some of the themes of ‘Two notions of necessity’ (Davies and Humberstone, 1980) and attempt to reach a deeper understanding and appreciation of Gareth Evans’s reﬂections (in ‘Reference and contingency’, 1979) on both modality and reference. My aim is to plot the relationships between the notions of necessity that Humberstone and I characterised in terms of operators in two-dimensional modal logic, the notions of superﬁcial and deep necessity that Evans himself described, and the epistemic notion of (...) a priority. (shrink)
[Crispin Wright] Two kinds of epistemological sceptical paradox are reviewed and a shared assumption, that warrant to accept a proposition has to be the same thing as having evidence for its truth, is noted. 'Entitlement', as used here, denotes a kind of rational warrant that counter-exemplifies that identification. The paper pursues the thought that there are various kinds of entitlement and explores the possibility that the sceptical paradoxes might receive a uniform solution if entitlement can be made to reach sufficiently (...) far. Three kinds of entitlement are characterised and given prima facie support, and a fourth is canvassed. Certain foreseeable limitations of the suggested anti-sceptical strategy are noted. The discussion is grounded, overall, in a conception of the sceptical paradoxes not as directly challenging our having any warrant for large classes of our beliefs but as crises of intellectual conscience for one who wants to claim that we do. /// [ Martin Davies] Wright's account of sceptical arguments and his use of the idea of epistemic entitlement are reviewed. His notion of non-transmission of epistemic warrant is explained and a concern about his notion of entitlement is developed. An epistemological framework different from Wright's is described and several notions of entitlement are introduced. One of these, negative entitlement, is selected for more detailed comparison with Wright's notion. Thereafter, the paper shows how the two notions of entitlement have contrasting consequences for non-transmission of warrant and how they go naturally with two conceptions of the presuppositions of epistemic projects. Problems for negative entitlement are explained and solutions are proposed. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a _prima facie_ tension between our commonsense conception of ourselves as thinkers and the connectionist programme for modelling cognitive processes. The language of thought hypothesis plays a pivotal role. The connectionist paradigm is opposed to the language of thought; and there is an argument for the language of thought that draws on features of the commonsense scheme of thoughts, concepts, and inference. Most of the paper (Sections 3-7) is taken up with the (...) argument for the language of thought hypothesis. The argument for an opposition between connectionism and the language of thought comes towards the end (Section 8), along with some discussion of the potential eliminativist consequences (Sections 9 and. (shrink)
What is critical thinking, especially in the context of higher education? How have research and scholarship on the matter developed over recent past decades? What is the current state of the art here? How might the potential of critical thinking be enhanced? What kinds of teaching are necessary in order to realize that potential? And just why is this topic important now? These are the key questions motivating this volume. We hesitate to use terms such as “comprehensive” or “complete” or (...) “definitive,” but we believe that, taken in the round, the chapters in this volume together offer a fair insight into the contemporary understandings of higher education worldwide. We also believe that this volume is much needed, and we shall try to justify that claim in this introduction. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall defend externalism for the contents of perceptual experience. A perceptual experience has representational properties; it presents the world as being a certain way. A visual experience, for example, might present the world to a subject as containing a surface with a certain shape, lying at a certain distance, in a certain direction; perhaps a square with sides about 30 cm, lying about one metre in front of the subject, in a direction about 20 degrees to (...) the left of straight ahead. (shrink)
Erdoğan intensifies assault on Turkish civil society Deeply worrying reports from the Turkish Medical Association suggest that the Turkish President Recep Erdoğan is hardening his attack on civil society in Turkey, using the legitimate activities of the TTB as the flimsiest of pretexts. In January 2018, the TTB issued a short statement raising concerns about the impact on public health of Turkey’s military operation in the Kurdish-controlled region of northern Syria. It denounced the operation saying ‘No to war, peace immediately’. (...) In response to the Association’s press release, the Turkish president publicly accused the 83 000 strong TTB of being terrorist sympathisers. ‘This institution has nothing to do with Turkishness and nothing about them is worthy of the notion of Turkishness’, he said. 1 Eleven of its senior doctors, including the Association’s chairman, were later detained following an order from a Turkish prosecutor. President Erdoğan made it... (shrink)
The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) concept is a knowledge assembly and communication tool to facilitate the transparent translation of mechanistic information into outcomes meaningful to the regulatory assessment of chemicals. The AOP framework and associated knowledgebases (KBs) have received significant attention and use in the regulatory toxicology community. However, it is increasingly apparent that the potential stakeholder community for the AOP concept and AOP KBs is broader than scientists and regulators directly involved in chemical safety assessment. In this paper we (...) identify and describe those stakeholders who currently—or in the future—could benefit from the application of the AOP framework and knowledge to specific problems. We also summarize the challenges faced in implementing pathway-based approaches such as the AOP framework in biological sciences, and provide a series of recommendations to meet critical needs to ensure further progression of the framework as a useful, sustainable and dependable tool supporting assessments of both human health and the environment. Although the AOP concept has the potential to significantly impact the organization and interpretation of biological information in a variety of disciplines/applications, this promise can only be fully realized through the active engagement of, and input from multiple stakeholders, requiring multi-pronged substantive long-term planning and strategies. (shrink)
The paper makes three points about the role of double dissociation in cognitive neuropsychology. First, arguments from double dissociation to separate modules work by inference to the best, not the only possible, explanation. Second, in the development of computational cognitive neuropsychology, the contribution of connectionist cognitive science has been to broaden the range of potential explanations of double dissociation. As a result, the competition between explanations, and the characteristic features of the assessment of theories against the criteria of probability and (...) explanatory value, are more visible. Third, cognitive neuropsychology is a division of cognitive psychology but the practice of cognitive neuropsychology proceeds on assumptions that go beyond the subject matter of cognitive psychology. Given such assumptions, neuroscientific findings about lesion location may enhance the value of double dissociation in shifting the balance of support between cognitive theories. (shrink)
Doctors and medical students in the UK have voted in support of the decriminalisation of abortion for women who self-administer abortions and healthcare professionals who provide abortions within the context of their clinical practice. Abortion should be treated as a medical issue rather than a criminal one. ### Background to the vote The vote took place at the end of June during the British Medical Association’s Annual Representative Meeting, where representatives of doctors and medical students from across the British Isles (...) gathered to set BMA policy through democratic procedures. Representatives considered the issue of decriminalisation during a 2-hour debate, where diverse and opposing viewpoints were heard. The debate was informed by a neutral discussion paper that was published by the BMA in February, which provided a guide to some of the key legal and ethical issues raised by the debate around decriminalisation.1 The BMA’s new policy only relates to whether abortion should or should not be a criminal offence; the policy does not address the broader issue of when and how abortion should be available. The BMA has established policy on these issues which remains unchanged.2 ### The law on abortion Induced abortion is currently a crime throughout the British Isles. There are, however, a range of exceptions to the crime laid out in statute and/or common law, for example, in England, Scotland and Wales, under the Abortion Act 1967. Any healthcare professionals operating within those defined exceptions, which include grounds for authorising an abortion and procedural requirements, can lawfully carry out an abortion as a clinical procedure. Outside these defined exceptions, the criminal offences potentially apply both to those who participate in carrying out abortions for others, including doctors, nurses and midwives, and to women who carry out abortions on themselves. For example, healthcare professionals who do not follow procedural requirements can attract criminal sanctions …. (shrink)
Essex University, in association with Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights, has brought out a timely report highlighting the increasing global criminalisation of the provision of healthcare.1 The report, with a foreword by Professor Dainius Puras, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, explores the pressures on medical impartiality arising in large part from both global and national responses to the threat of terrorism. Both international humanitarian law, human rights law and long-established principles of medical (...) ethics—as set out in various declarations of the World Medical Association—establish an absolute principle that all people, regardless of their beliefs, affiliation or status, have rights of access to appropriate healthcare. And this right extends to wounded and sick combatants, as well as civilians, during times of armed conflict. One of the challenges in this area is that in recent years, many conflicts have become ‘asymmetric’. Contemporary conflicts seldom involve opposing state armies. Instead, they increasingly involve irregular combatants, often labelled ‘terrorists’ or ‘insurgents’ by the states they are opposing. In response to these threats, many states have developed sometimes draconian legislation outlawing terrorist groups and those offering support. The danger, outlined in some detail in the report, is that the vital distinction between the impartial provision of medical care and the criminal offence of materially aiding terrorism is lost. In 2016, largely in response to the deliberate targeting of healthcare personnel and facilities in the conflicts disfiguring the greater Middle …. (shrink)
Anosognosia is literally ‘unawareness of or failure to acknowledge one’s hemi- plegia or other disability’ (OED). Etymology would suggest the meaning ‘lack of knowledge of disease’ so that anosognosia would include any denial of impairment, such as denial of blindness (Anton’s syndrome). But Babinski, who introduced the term in 1914, applied it only to patients with hemiplegia who fail to acknowledge their paralysis. Most commonly, this is failure to acknowledge paralysis of the left side of the body following damage to (...) the right hemisphere of the brain. In this paper, we shall mainly be concerned with anosognosia for hemiplegia. But we shall also use the term ‘anosognosia’ in an inclusive way to encompass lack of knowledge or acknowledgement of any impairment. Indeed, in the construction ‘anosognosia for X’, X might even be anosognosia for some Y. (shrink)
Computer-Assisted Argument Mapping (CAAM) is a new way of understanding arguments. While still embryonic in its development and application, CAAM is being used increasingly as a training and development tool in the professions and government. Inroads are also being made in its application within education. CAAM claims to be helpful in an educational context, as a tool for students in responding to assessment tasks. However, to date there is little evidence from students that this is the case. This paper outlines (...) the use of CAAM as an educational tool within an Economics and Commerce Faculty in a major Australian research university. Evaluation results are provided from students from a CAAM pilot within an upper-level Economics subject. Results indicate promising support for the use of CAAM and its potential for transferability within the disciplines. If shown to be valuable with further studies, CAAM could be included in capstone subjects, allowing computer technology to be utilised in the service of generic skill development. (shrink)
Cognitive neuropsychology is that branch of cognitive psychology that investi- gates people with acquired or developmental disorders of cognition. The aim is to learn more about how cognitive systems normally operate or about how they are normally acquired by studying selective patterns of cognitive break- down after brain damage or selective dif?culties in acquiring particular cogni- tive abilities. In the early days of modern cognitive neuropsychology, research focused on rather basic cognitive abilities such as speech comprehension or production at the (...) single-word level, reading and spelling, object and face recognition, and short-term memory. More recently the cognitive-neuro- psychological approach has been applied to the study of rather more complex domains of cognition such as belief ?xation (e.g. Coltheart and Davies, 2000; Langdon and Coltheart, 2000) and pragmatic aspects of communication (e.g. McDonald and Van Sommers, 1993). Our paper concerns the investigation of pragmatic disorders in one clinical group in which such disorders are common, patients with schizophrenia, and what the study of such people can tell us about the normal processes of communication. (shrink)
In April, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology committee published a report evaluating the readiness of the National Health Service to incorporate genomic testing into mainstream service provision.1 The committee also examined some of the research and regulatory considerations in relation to the ongoing development of genome editing. ### Genomics in the NHS The main focus of the report is the 100,000 Genomes Project and the various practical and ethical challenges associated with the planned roll-out of the Genomics (...) Medicine Service in the NHS. The 1 00 000 Genomes Project was launched in 2012 and is the first large-scale whole genome sequencing research study of its kind in the world. The overall objective is to sequence genomes from NHS patients with a rare disease and their families, and from patients with specific cancers. The study seeks to benefit patients by potentially providing a diagnosis, gain new scientific insights, increase public knowledge of genomic medicine, encourage investment, and accelerate the uptake of genomic medicine in the NHS. At the time of writing the project had sequenced over 55 000 genomes and it is expected that the full 1 00 000 will be completed by the end of 2018. Building on the success of the project NHS England announced the establishment of a national NHS Genomic Medicine Service to provide ‘comprehensive and equitable access to the latest in genomic testing and management for the whole country, regardless of condition and where people live.’2 The service is set to be operational this year. The committee acknowledged the range of potential benefits that whole genome sequencing could have for patient care, however it also highlighted that there was a currently a lack of ‘sufficiently unambiguous evidence’ for its …. (shrink)
In February 2014, the Belgian Parliament passed legislation allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children of all ages by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions. The Bill became law in early March after being signed by the King, making Belgium the first country in the world to abolish age restrictions for euthanasia. Previously, the youngest age at which euthanasia was permitted was 12 years old in The Netherlands.1Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002, and the new legislation introduces amendments to (...) the law extending euthanasia to minors in certain circumstances. Euthanasia is now permissible for children of all ages where the child has a “terminal and incurable illness”, experiences “constant and unbearable physical suffering”, and death is expected to occur within a “brief period”. The child must be deemed capable of making the decision, and have the agreement of their parents.Belgian law sets no timetable for euthanasia from the point at which the patient first expresses a wish to die. As with adults seeking euthanasia, any request must be made in writing. A physician and “outsider” brought in to give a second opinion must agree upon the diagnosis and prognosis, and a paediatric psychiatrist or psychologist must certify in writing that the child possesses “the capacity of discernment”. Following this, the child's physician must meet with the parents to inform them of the outcome of the consultation and ensure they are in agreement with the child's request. The child and the family must receive psychological care and support if so desired.The move provoked heated debate and divided the medical, legal and political professions in Belgium. A group of 160 of the country's paediatricians opposed a change in the law, citing concerns about the largely subjective assessment of the “capacity of discernment”, and drawing attention to advances in …. (shrink)
[Crispin Wright] Two kinds of epistemological sceptical paradox are reviewed and a shared assumption, that warrant to accept a proposition has to be the same thing as having evidence for its truth, is noted. 'Entitlement', as used here, denotes a kind of rational warrant that counter-exemplifies that identification. The paper pursues the thought that there are various kinds of entitlement and explores the possibility that the sceptical paradoxes might receive a uniform solution if entitlement can be made to reach sufficiently (...) far. Three kinds of entitlement are characterised and given prima facie support, and a fourth is canvassed. Certain foreseeable limitations of the suggested anti-sceptical strategy are noted. The discussion is grounded, overall, in a conception of the sceptical paradoxes not as directly challenging our having any warrant for large classes of our beliefs but as crises of intellectual conscience for one who wants to claim that we do. /// [Martin Davies] Wright's account of sceptical arguments and his use of the idea of epistemic entitlement are reviewed. His notion of non-transmission of epistemic warrant is explained and a concern about his notion of entitlement is developed. An epistemological framework different from Wright's is described and several notions of entitlement are introduced. One of these, negative entitlement, is selected for more detailed comparison with Wright's notion. Thereafter, the paper shows how the two notions of entitlement have contrasting consequences for non-transmission of warrant and how they go naturally with two conceptions of the presuppositions of epistemic projects. Problems for negative entitlement are explained and solutions are proposed. (shrink)
I defend a conception of the relationship between the personal and sub-personal levels as interaction withoutreduction.There are downward inferences from the personal to the sub-personal level but we find upward explanatory gaps when we try to construct illuminating accounts of personal level conditions using just sub-personal level notions. This conception faces several serious challenges but the objection that I consider in this paper says that, when theories support downward inferences from the personal to the sub-personal level, this is the product (...) of an unacceptably • mechanistic view of persons. According to this objection, if we were to focus on persons as conscious rational thinkers and agents then the support for putative downward inferences would be undermined. I consider and reject developments of this objection in response to two arguments for downward inferences. (shrink)
1. Introduction For philosophers, the current phase of the debate with which this volume is concerned can be taken to have begun in 1986, when Jane Heal and Robert Gordon published their seminal papers (Heal, 1986; Gordon, 1986; though see also, for example, Stich, 1981; Dennett, 1981). They raised a dissenting voice against what was becoming a philosophical orthodoxy: that our everyday, or folk, understanding of the mind should be thought of as theoretical. In opposition to this picture, Gordon and (...) Heal argued that we are not theorists but simulators. For psychologists, the debate had begun somewhat earlier when Heider (1958) produced his work on lay psychology; and in more recent times the psychological debate had continued in developmental psychology and in work on animal cognition. (shrink)