In the rapid stream of ideas rushing past us each day, there is scant time or energy to capture and distill them all.
The current runs fast.
Sometimes we’re able to break free of the digital frenzy of information, able (if only briefly) to pull against the current of our social media stream to reflect in deeper waters. Once there, though, are we ready? Do we still have the skills to discern real events from fiction? Opinion from fact? Symptoms from causes? What of the core skills required for critical thinking to take hold, and what are their sources?
This is the line of questioning we’ll bring into focus this summer, and I think we might be best served looking at these matters across a time horizon: What were traditional sources? Where do these skills come from today? And where will we get them in the future?
We’ll start with a look back, to traditional sources. Certainly public education and higher education provide fertile ground. Do we go all the way back to classic influences, like Aristotle or Socrates? From my not so long ago memory of grade school days, forms of the Socratic inquiry (marked by it’s bedeviling “..and why is THAT?”) have remained alive and well on elementary playgrounds. But to what degree does classic inquiry still infuse the learning horizon? To what desgree does it need to? Let’s find out.
- Q1. What role did the early greek classics play in establishing critical thinking?
- Q2. How central have the liberal arts been in teaching critical thinking at the college level, and in which domains?
- Q3. Has public education attempted to introduce critical thinking in primary, and with what success?
- Q4. Let’s establish a common thread: how did past learners become comfortable with ambiguity?
I look forward to an interesting conversation. This current is likely to run particularly fast. I’ll be sure to bring extra paddles.
Chris aka @sourcepov