A Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking

Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4) (2016)
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This article proposes a Confucian conception of critical thinking by focussing on the notion of judgement. It is argued that the attainment of the Confucian ideal of li necessitates and promotes critical thinking in at least two ways. First, the observance of li requires the individual to exercise judgement by applying the generalised knowledge, norms and procedures in dao to particular action-situations insightfully and flexibly. Secondly, the individual's judgement, to qualify as an instance of li, should be underpinned and motivated by the ethical quality of ren that testifies to one's moral character. Two educational implications arising from a Confucian conception of critical thinking are highlighted. First, the Confucian interpretation presented in this essay challenges the perception that critical thinking is absent from or culturally incompatible with Chinese traditions. Secondly, such a conception advocates viewing critical thinking as a form of judgement that is action-oriented, spiritual, ethical and interpersonal.



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References found in this work

Truth and Method.H. G. Gadamer - 1975 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36 (4):487-490.
Thinking through Confucius.David L. Hall & Roger T. Ames - 1987 - Philosophy East and West 41 (2):241-254.
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics.Christopher Rowe & Sarah Broadie - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (215):309-314.
The World of Thought in Ancient China.David S. Nivison - 1988 - Philosophy East and West 38 (4):411-419.
Critical Thinking.Sharon Bailin & Harvey Siegel - 2003 - In Nigel Blake, Paul Smeyers, Richard Smith & Paul Standish (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 181–193.

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