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Taylor & Francis
Education, Culture and Critical Thinking

Education, Culture and Critical Thinking

by Ken Brown


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Education, Culture and Critical Thinking

Education, Culture and Critical Thinking relates current interest in critical thinking as an aim within education to wider issues concerning the social ends of education. It is portrayed as on ultimate ethical and political ideal and a criterion of the effectiveness of educational institutions to represent democratic and libertarian values.

The philosophical argument begins with the contemporary 'thinking skills debate' in education, subsequently drawing on evidence from psychology, anthropology, education and political philosophy to characterize critical thinking in terms of powerful but rare and vulnerable cultural traditions of dialogue and inuititutionalized argumemt. These traditions, developments of universal human problem-solving abilities, have revolutionized human consciousness. They reveal an indefinite human potential in conditions of intellectual freedom, a freedom which is threatened by contemporary, servile views of education as a means to predetermined socioeconomic ends, defined increasingly by prespecified learning outcomes by centralized control and by standardized measures of attainment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781840143249
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/28/1998
Pages: 9
Product dimensions: 6.26(w) x 8.94(h) x 1.06(d)

Table of Contents

1Critical Thinking and its Alternatives3
The 'Thinking Skills Movement'; a neglected historical dimension3
The disinheritance of Mill's ideal7
The contemporary thinking skills movement11
Parameters, definitions and the critical tradition13
Some dissenting voices and further implications17
Darwin's lost supper: some features of a 'critical tradition'20
2The 'General Thinking Skills' Controversy27
General or generalizable?27
The attack on 'general thinking skills'29
Some pedagogic implications31
The internality of 'logics' and the problem of relativism33
The 'problem' of transfer; syntax and semantics38
An example; the Wason Card Test44
3Epistemic Bedrock or Logical Quicksand?50
Domain theory and some of its limitations50
The 'languages' of the formal disciplines53
The demarcation between cognitive domains56
The character of history59
The contradiction inherent in domain theory61
Domains and language games62
4Language and Consciousness66
Syntax, semantics and human intentionality66
Conceptual gridlock; subjective idealism or reductionist behaviourism?71
Different views of the relationship between language and thought74
The centrality of consciousness and intentionality76
Successive dialogical approximations81
5Side by Side Through Different Landscapes83
Intentionality and 'forms of life'83
Empirical, conceptual and historical dimensions of thought89
Wittgensteinian idealism and 'essentialism' - a source of misunderstanding91
Different landscapes94
Linguistic-conceptual innovation and prediction in social science101
Concepts, models and 'false consciousness'103
The significance of 'rule-governed' behaviour106
6Between Our Ears?109
Cognition as a cultural phenomenon109
The biological basis of cognition and 'psychologism'111
Constructivism versus nativism115
Chomsky's view of the nature of the innate 'fixed nucleus'118
Fodor's rejection of learning-theory - and its significance120
Some empirical studies of 'cognitive stages'122
The notion of 'isomorphism'125
Form and content128
7Language, Tradition and Culture131
Tradition and critical thinking131
The problem of relativism and some institutional ramifications135
Social constructions of reality and the relativities of language137
Metaphor, the 'inward' aspect of word-meaning, and myth140
Words as tools, mediated learning; a 'zone of proximal development'145
Literacy, new dimensions of consciousness, and critical thinking148
Monolithic and critical 'world views'151
The relativities of understanding and intolerance of ambiguity154
8The Sovereignty of Reason159
Critical thinking as an ultimate ideal159
Mill's education in context160
Mill's contemporary relevance165
The central issue; truth as a regulative principle171
Critical thinking as a standard of social order176
Democracy, education and critical thinking178
9Conclusion: 'A Spirit of Adventure'181
The industrialisation of education and the 'total' school182
Radical alternatives185

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