Epistemology

The Critical Thinking Left

We tend to think of the methods and attitudes of critical thinking as politically neutral. We suppose that critical thinking doesn’t discriminate; any appeal to tradition or authority is subject to critical challenge, regardless of what tradition or whose authority is in question. Nevertheless, there is a faction within the critical thinking “movement” that does have some affinity with left-wing politics. I call this faction the “critical thinking left,” to distinguish its theoretical slant from its political commitments.* Its prevalence among educational reformers helps explain the Texas GOP’s doubts about the teaching of critical thinking.

Identifying Assumptions; Imagining Alternatives

Critical thinkers universally acknowledge the importance of identifying and challenging assumptions, and of imagining and exploring alternatives. Clearly, assumption-hunting has an important role to play, and I include it as one of the… Continue reading