ERIC Number: ED352330
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Reason and Critical Thinking. Resource Publication, Series 1 No. 5.
If critical thinking is to be seriously considered as a possible vehicle for educational reform, an exploration of relevant theories of reason is required. This paper offers an analytic framework for understanding theories of reason, presents an overview of recent work in empirical psychology that is related to root conceptions of rationality, and examines the work of Jurgen Habermas whose analysis of reason offers a possible resolution to the issues of contextualism raised by contemporary psychological thought. The root conceptions of rationality that have exerted the most influence on theories of reason can be divided into three main types: reason as one of a small number of basic human mental capacities; reason as a developmentally-based function which can be analyzed in terms of logical and ontological categories; and reason as expressed in paradigmatic social and cultural behaviors and analyzed in terms of the context in which reasoning occurs. Recent psychological research reveals a clear trend towards contextualism. Habermas sees reason as deeply embedded in human interest. The views of Piaget and Kohlberg on the development of reasoning ability are also discussed. The paper concludes with a discussion of several deep concerns which must be addressed if critical thinking is to be the basis for educational reform. Seventy-two references are included. (IAH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Montclair State Coll., Upper Montclair, NJ. Inst. for Critical Thinking.