ERIC Number: ED352333
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Why Be Rational? On Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking. Resource Publication, Series 2 No. 1.
Critical thinkers must be critical about critical thinking itself, and because there is a close conceptual connection between critical thinking and rationality, the demand for justification for a commitment to critical thinking is tantamount to a demand for reasons that justify a commitment to rationality. Several authors have argued that the demand for justification of rationality is a bogus demand because there is an unremovable circularity in offering reasons for being rational. Among the authors whose views are examined in this paper are Roger Trigg, Anthony O'Hear, and Karl Popper. This paper argues that the demand for justification of rationality and its relevance to critical thinking is legitimate, and it offers, therefore, a self-reflexive justification of rationality. It is argued that rationality can be seen as self-justifying in that seriously querying the justificatory status of rationality presupposes that very status. To ask for reasons that justify being rational commits one to a recognition of the epistemic force of reasons; therefore, one should be rational because reasons have force. Determining why educators should be rational provides an underlying rationale and justification for efforts to foster critical thinking in the schools. (IAH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Montclair State Coll., Upper Montclair, NJ. Inst. for Critical Thinking.