Friday, March 06, 2015

Constructive Thinking

Critical thinking is actually just the first step in a larger process that we might want to call constructive thinking. Rest assured, this is not just wordplay. Critical thinking represents the highly valuable inquiry and interrogation prerequisite to problem identification; it involves the analysis of an argument's merits and faults. It is the process of judging, approving or disapproving. Liberal arts colleges encourage students to ask lots of questions. Through questions, students unravel or deconstruct an argument in order to access its utility. While none of this is inherently negative, it too often becomes routinely condemnatory. It can also breed intellectual laziness; the job of taking something apart is far easier than the job of putting it back together again. The identification of problems made possible by critical thinking is useful only if it gives rise to the problem solving of constructive thinking. The desired endgame is problem solving, not critical thinking for its own sake.
Liberal arts colleges should focus on how they help students learn 'constructive thinking'

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