Monday, January 23, 2006

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is what is supposed to be taught in college. Critical thinking is the ability to reason, to examine, to analyze, synthesize, to question. It means questioning assumptions, looking at what is backgrounded and foregrounded.
Unfortunately, critical thinking is hard, and hard work.

"Broadly speaking, critical thinking is concerned with reason, intellectual honesty, and open-mindedness, as opposed too emotionalism, intellectual laziness, and closed-mindedness. Thus, critical thinking involves: following evidence where it leads; considering all possibilities; relying on reason rather than emotion; being precise; considering a variety of possible viewpoints and explanations; weighing the effects of motives and biases; being concerned more with finding the truth than with being right; not rejecting unpopular views out of hand; being aware of one's own prejudices and biases, and not allowing them to sway one's judgment." Kurland, Daniel J. I Know What It Says . . . What does it Mean? 1995.

I raise this issue because it seems that there is a very conservative faction that believe that students should be taught not to question, just to accept whatever is the (correct?) canon. But then again, some conservative members also believe in "intelligent design."

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