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INQUIRY: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines Vol. 27 No. 1 (Spring 2012)
Table of Contents
From The Editor's Desk
We are happy to begin this issue with Part II of a reflection piece by Richard Paul. Part I of the reflection appeared in the previous issue, INQUIRY Vol. 26, No. 3. After setting the stage in Part I, in Part II Paul outlines in great detail his influential conception of critical thinking, one that he and his colleagues have developed over a number of years. Anyone who reads Part II together with Part I will see in a nutshell Paul’s analysis of our current situation and his prescription for critical thinking, critical thinking that is not only skillful but also is fair-minded and responsive to intellectual standards such as clarity, breadth, and significance.
The second piece by Ana Nieto and Jorge Valenzuela focuses on our understanding of the notion of dispositions in relation to critical thinking. They attempt to differentiate two components of dispositions, components which they refer to as mental habits, on the one hand, and motivation, on the other. They report results of their empirical research, and they support the idea that motivation is the largest contributing factor to engaging in critical thinking, especially for those new to it.
The piece by Anderson, Aikin, and Casey is a contribution to the theory of fallacies, one of the classical parts of logic since the time of Aristotle. They make a case for distinguishing various versions of the tu quoque fallacy, some of which are fallacious and others of which are not. They use as examples a number of arguments that have a degree of currency in recent political discourse and that gives their account a notable degree of relevance.
Finally, we have two reviews of noteworthy critical thinking textbooks. Carozza’s review of the relatively new text, Reason in the Balance, by Sharon Bailin and Mark Battersby, stresses that it contains a number of relatively novel and useful features such as its focus on critical thinking as the practice of inquiry. Next, Thomas Fischer reviews the well-known text by Bruce Waller, Consider the Verdict, and while Fischer notes that “it belongs on the very short list for any critical thinking instructor seeking a text emphasizing legal reasoning and argumentation,” he also considers the issue of “the wisdom of choosing a themed text as opposed to a purely generalist text for conveying the basic concepts of critical thinking and theory of argument.”
So I believe that there is something in this issue for everyone who is concerned with the theory, practice, and pedagogy of critical thinking. But let us preview the next issue, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer 2012). In that issue we will continue the series of reflection pieces by leading lights in the critical thinking movement with an account by Mark Weinstein, “Critical Thinking from the Margins: A Personal Narrative.” And, a bit unusually, we will feature two reviews of the same book. We will have two reviews of Daniel Kahnman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, because I believe the book and the research program it describes in magisterial detail are of such significance as to merit a doubling of our attention.
Professor of Philosophy
Department of Psychology and Philosophy
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341-2447