Revisiting the Art of Critical Thinking : A critique on the Argumentative Approach in College Philosophy

Numéro: 

4

Volume: 

20
Bérubé, Micaël

Curious about the reasons behind the mitigated interest for the art of thinking, the author offers several hypotheses. He begins by sketching a portrait of the logic taught in CEGEPs, a logic associated to the argumentative approach based on the concept of argument. He describes the components of this approach supported with examples and a table using a tree diagram to allow for a detailed critique of it. As an alternative, the author suggests a theoretical approach designed to build and test an explanatory system, a theory, that is, a network of interconnected theses in a relationship not unlike that a living organism, which is illustrated in diagrams modeling a ‘nervous system’. Pointing out the inherent advantages of such an approach in the Philosophy course – simplicity, close connection to the actual thinking process, ability to impede unconsidered opinions and genuine usefulness for students – the author responds to various objections and proposes that the theoretical approach be tested by teachers in their classrooms. In ending, he shares a vision of philosophy adapted to the needs of students, pointing out the gaps that only a genuine philosophy, supported by theoretical logic, can bridge.

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