Cognitive Skills in Philosophy

Aitia 6 (3):12-21 (1978-1979)
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Two fundamentally distinct approaches to the teaching of philosophy are contrasted: On the one hand, there is the “information-oriented” approach which has dominated classrooms and which emphasizes the understanding of historically important philosophical works. On the other hand, there is the “cognitive skills” approach. The two approaches may be distinguished under the headings of ‘knowing that’ as opposed to ‘knowing how’. This paper describes and discusses four perspectives relating to the teaching of cognitive skills: (i) the discovery-oriented approach, (ii) Piagetian learning cycles, (iii) protocol analysis, and (iv) conceptual therapy. The latter approach reflects the author’s interest in helping students to develop “therapeutic” skills that enable them to identify and eliminate concepts which they employ in their thinking and which are incompatible with their own presuppositional bases and are therefore self-refuting.
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