Critical Thinking – Philosophy

Critical Thinking – Philosophy

T O O L S FOR T A K I N G C H A R G E OF y O U R L E A R N I N G A N D Y O U R LIFE

T H I R D E D I T I O N

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Richard Paul Foundation for Critical Thinking

Linda Elder Foundation for Critical Thinking

P E A R S O N

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The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.
Paul, Richard. Critical thinking : tools for taking charge of your learning and your life /

Richard Paul, Linda Elder.—3rd ed. p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-13-218091-7 (alk. paper) 1. Critical thinking. I. Elder, Linda. II. Title. B809.2.P38 2011 153.42—dc22

2011003890

10 9 8 7—V031—16 15

PEARSON ISBN-10:0-13-218091-X ISBN-13: 978-0-13-218091-7

3 C H A P T E R 3

CONNECT ACADEMIC SUBJECTS TO YOUR LIFE AND PROBLEMS

One challenge you face as a student is to learn to approach your classes with a fuller understanding of how your emotional life influences your learning for good or ill. Your emotions can aid or hamper your learning. Your goals can facilitate or limit your insights.

If you typically don’t learn at a deep level, you need to observe the thoughts, emotions, and desires that keep you from learning deeply. You must generate the thoughts and desires that motivate you to discover the powerful thinking that academic disciplines create and define. You need to discover rational thought— the power of sound reasoning. You need to experience non-egocentric thinking. You need to value bringing ideas, emotions, and will power together as you learn.

When we learn to think within disciplines, we begin to use important ideas in those disciplines, and we become more intellectually free. Historical thought frees us from the egocentric stories we tend to build our lives on. Sociological thought frees us from the domination of peer groups. Philosophical thought frees us to reason comprehensively about the direction and values embedded in our lives. Economic thought enables us to grasp powerful forces that are defining the world we inhabit.

LEARN BOTH INTELLECTUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY

We spend most of our time thinking about what we personally want or value. Our emotional life keeps us focused on the extent to which we are successfully achieving our personal values. The subjects we take in college contribute to our educational growth only insofar as we are able to relate what we are studying to our personal lives. If we are to value literature personally, for example—and hence be motivated to read it for more than the grade we will receive—we must discover the relevance of literary insights to our life. When we see connections between the issues and problems the characters in stories face and the issues and problems that we face ourselves, literature comes alive to us. The characters we read about live in our minds. We identify with them. We puzzle with them, suffer with them, triumph with them.