Blog Post: Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How [Part 2 of 3]

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Dec 22, 2020 • 3y ago
Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How [Part 2 of 3]

{"ops":[{"insert":"Richard Paul’s introduction to the program for the 7"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"insert":" International Conference on Critical Thinking (1989) bore the title, “Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How.” This article was divided into three sections: “The Logically Illogical Animal,” “Knowledge as Thinking,” and “Lower Order Learning.” The second of these appears below.\n \nWe often talk of knowledge as if it could be divorced from thinking, as if it could be gathered up by one person and given to another in the form of a collection of sentences to remember. When we talk in this way we forget that knowledge is by its very nature dependent on thought. Knowledge is produced by thought, organized, evaluated, maintained, and transformed by thought. Knowledge exists, properly speaking, only in minds that have comprehended and justified it through thought. And when we say "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"think"},{"insert":" we mean "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"think critically"},{"insert":". Knowledge is not to be confused with belief nor with symbolic representation of belief. Humans are quite capable of believing things that are false or things to be true without knowing them to be so. A book contains knowledge only in a derivative sense, because only minds can thoughtfully read it and through that process gain knowledge. We often forget this and design instruction as if recall were equivalent to knowledge."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"We need to remember that all knowledge exists in and through critical thought. All the disciplines – Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, and so on – are modes of thinking. We know mathematics not to the extent that we can recite mathematical formulas but only to the extent that we can think mathematically. We know science not to the extent that we can recall sentences from our science textbooks but only to the extent that we can think scientifically. We understand Sociology only to the extent that we can think sociologically, History only to the extent that we can think historically, and Philosophy only to the extent that we can think philosophically."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"When we teach Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, and so on in such a way that students pass courses without thinking their way into the knowledge that these subjects make possible, students leave those courses without any more knowledge than they had when they entered them. When we sacrifice thought to gain coverage we sacrifice knowledge at the same time. The issue is not shall we sacrifice knowledge to spend time on thought, but shall we continue to sacrifice both knowledge and thought for the mere appearance of learning, for mislearning, for fragmentary learning, for transitory learning, for inert, confused learning?"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}


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