Critical thinking and the disciplines reconsidered

Higher Education Research and Development 32 (4):529-544 (2013)
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Abstract

This paper argues that Moore's specifist defence of critical thinking as ‘diverse modes of thought in the disciplines’, which appeared in Higher Education Research & Development, 30(3), 2011, is flawed as it entrenches relativist attitudes toward the important skill of critical thinking. The paper outlines the critical thinking debate, distinguishes between ‘top-down’, ‘bottom-up’ and ‘relativist’ approaches and locates Moore's account therein. It uses examples from one discipline-specific area, namely, the discipline of Literature, to show that the generalist approach to critical thinking does not ‘leave something out’ and outlines why teaching ‘generic’ critical thinking skills is central to tertiary education, teaching and learning, and employment opportunities for students. The paper also defends the assessment of critical thinking skills.

Author's Profile

Martin Davies
University of Melbourne

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