Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/16837
Skortur á gagnrýninni hugsun hefur verið mikið í umræðunni í íslensku samfélagi undanfarin ár. Sú umræða hefur meðal annars náð inn í nýja aðalnámskrá. Skilningur á þessu hugtaki virðist þó ekki hafa aukist í jöfnu hlutfalli við aukna umræðu. Jákvæðri og skapandi hugsun er jafnvel teflt fram sem nauðsynlegu mótvægi við gagnrýna hugsun. Í þessari grein er leitast við að lýsa mismunandi túlkunum á hugtakinu með því að svara þeirri spurningu hvort gagnrýnin hugsun sé ekki einmitt jákvæð, skapandi og uppbyggileg.
Í greininni eru rök færð fyrir því að rétt breytni fremur en rökleikni sé raunverulegt markmið með beitingu gagnrýninnar hugsunar. Ennfremur er bent á leiðir til þess að þjálfa nemendur í þessari gerð hugsunar. Þá er útskýrt hvers vegna slík þjálfun hjálpi nemendum að byggja upp eigin skoðanir fremur en að láta þá beita gagn-rýninni hugsun til þess að rífa niður skoðanir annarra. Loks er reynt að draga upp mynd af því hvernig gagnrýni á að hvetja okkur til að njóta ábyrgðar okkar sem hugsandi verur.
Substantial attention has been paid to the notion of critical thinking in Iceland in recent years, including within the national curricula. Amidst a certain confusion about the exact meaning of critical thinking, calls have surfaced for more emphasis on creative and positive thinking at the expense of critical elements. This paper asks whether critical skills are not in fact essential for constructive thinking and thus full of positive connotations. First, the argument is made that critical thinking has a necessary ethical dimension. Despite there being something fundamentally wrong with the idea that one can both be an evil character and a truly thoughtful person, this dimension is often overlooked. Some people fail to perform their duty to seek adequate justifications for their convictions, ignore the need to be critical when facing an ethical dilemma and place too much faith in their inner moral guides. Other people see no need to worry about temptations that follow one’s intellectual prowess. Neither group grasps how ethics and critical thinking are intertwined. This first point on the links between critical thinking and morality is followed by a discussion on what skills are the ingredients of critical thinking. The under-standing of logical fallacies and the possession of analytical skills are obviously important, but there are other no less important questions one should ask oneself
when forming a critical opinion. One has to grasp what exactly the topic is,
why it is important to consider it, who is influencing whom in making certain
judgements and what may result in having a specific conviction. In other words,
critical thinking is to look at a certain issue from every possible angle, and thus
the adjective ‘critical’ should not be confused with the verb ‘to criticise’, which
has more obvious negative connotations.
Drawing on this perspective, this paper points out why training in critical thinking
should not solely focus on either debunking the opinions of others or on the
various limits of the social environment. Both approaches have attractive
features for students but do not seem to fulfil a definition of critical thinking that
calls for both the ethical dimension and people asking themselves what may
result from their beliefs. This paper argues that Socrates’ celebrated Speech of
the Laws fits such a definition.
Finally, the point is made that critical thinking is foremost a dynamic and creative
process which ultimately brings to our attention our responsibilities as rational
beings. Seeking a justification for one’s opinion is certainly an important part of
critical thinking. However, without considering possible alternatives and possible
– even desirable – outcomes when acting according to one’s beliefs, such thinking
is far from ideal within education.
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