On Critical And Creative Thinking: Examining Sound Judgment.

6772 words - 27 pages

INTRODUCTIONThe Critical and the Creative.In this essay, I shall argue that essential to sound judgment or what others may call effective thinking is the skillful (creative) implementation of rules and procedures on the one hand, and a certain awareness (critical) of the limitations of such implementation on the other. This thesis partly disputes the presupposition that judgments - in order to be sound - must be established on a basis that is either beyond doubt or hardly questionable. It also argues the assumption that sound judgments have to only consider the context where they occur without thought of the reasons they use. In contrast to these positions, I shall explain that sound judgments occur only within the context that takes both basis and context on even keel, without undermining one or the other.As I shall discuss both issues of basis and context in connection to developing sound judgments, it shall be important to examine certain assumptions regarding sound judgment. One everyday assumption that we have about it is the fact that soundness rests decisively on the premises or bases we use to justify it. Now, no activity can better indi-cate what I mean by "premises we use to justify" than our everyday attempt to argue for our claims, personal or otherwise, on the basis of reasons. We often take this for granted, but our most usual conversations reflect our need to have justifiable bases, bases that shall require our assent and belief. It is in the context of this everyday need that this essay shall examine the way we use reasons when we make judgments.When is our judgment sound and effective? In answering this question, I shall follow Matthew Lipman's work, "Thinking in Education," which - though highly recognized as a text in philosophy of education - inevitably touches issues on sound and effec-tive judgment. For Lipman, we think effectively when our knowledge rests "upon a foot-ing as firm as bedrock," and when its bases are "well-founded, structured, and rein-forced..." I take his words here within the context of his explanation regarding criteria and context, and their role in developing sound judgments.I shall divide this essay in five sections. In the first section, I shall reconstruct the problem from the point of view of Lipman's work, "Thinking in Education". I shall inter-pret Lipman's aim in writing the book within the context of the essay's problem without deviating from what he recognizes to be the more fundamental questions, and yet at the same time, without being distracted by these questions. In section two, I shall describe briefly how Lipman distinguishes criteria that will lead to sound judgments from those that would not. Sections three and four shall examine certain interpretations of criteria, including Lipman's. Here I shall explain how criteria, in ensuring sound judgments, seem to be quite inadequate and a bit incomplete, and how emphasizing one part of judgment tend to neglect the other part. Finally, I shall...

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