Beyond Critical Thinking

Michael S. Roth, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Mar 09, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

critical thinking is about much more than debunking faulty reasoning, argues this columnist. It involves being able to learn. For example, we should develop modes of engagement "that allow our students to enter in the value-laden practices of a particular culture to understand better how these values are legitimated: how the values are lived as legitimate." Indeed, "If we humanities professors saw ourselves more often as explorers of the normative than as critics of normativity, we would have a better chance to reconnect our intellectual work to broader currents in public culture." I endorse this aspect of critical thinking. Most of what I do in my own work involves exploring, whether it be a new culture, new technology, or new way of seeing the world. My critical thinking skills are like explorer's gear, helping me see and understand and guide my way. This is not a new view of critical thinking - I've seen it expressed in various fora before - but it is a valuable one.
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