An "infusion" approach to critical thinking: Moore on the critical thinking debate

Higher Education Research and Development 25 (2):179-193 (2006)
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Abstract

This paper argues that general skills and the varieties of subject-specific discourse are both important for teaching, learning and practising critical thinking. The former is important because it outlines the principles of good reasoning simpliciter (what constitutes sound reasoning patterns, invalid inferences, and so on). The latter is important because it outlines how the general principles are used and deployed in the service of ‘academic tribes’. Because critical thinking skills are—in part, at least—general skills, they can be applied to all disciplines and subject-matter indiscriminately. General skills can help us assess reasoning independently of the vagaries of the linguistic discourse we express arguments in. The paper looks at the debate between the ‘specifists’—those who stress the importance of critical thinking understood as a subject-specific discourse—and the ‘generalists’—those that stress the importance of critical thinking understood independently of disciplinary context. The paper suggests that the ‘debate’ between the specifists and the generalists amounts to a fallacy of the false alternative, and presents a combinatory-‘infusion’ approach to critical thinking.

Author's Profile

Martin Davies
University of Melbourne

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