Jason Baehr, Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University and 2012 John Templeton Foundation Grantee, will visit on April 22nd as part of our 2015-2016 colloquium series. This lecture will take place at 2:30pm in Dale Hall Tower Rm. 607. Here are the title and abstract for his presentation:
Title: "Intellectual Virtues, Critical Thinking, and the Aim of Education"
Abstract: Since around the turn of the century, epistemologists have been paying considerably more attention to the upper normative boundaries of the cognitive life, for example, to intellectual character virtues like curiosity, open-mindedness, and intellectual courage and to estimable and complex cognitive states like understand and wisdom. This broader, normatively-oriented focus has begun to generate fruitful interactions between epistemologists and philosophers of education, the latter seeing the former as concerned with certain vital educational aims. The present paper is a contribution to this incipient dialogue. I address two main questions. First, how exactly are intellectual virtues related to the familiar educational goal of critical thinking? Second, in light of this relation, which (if either) is a more suitable educational ideal? With respect to the first question, Harvey Siegel has recently defended a deep distinction between intellectual virtues and critical thinking, such that a person can possess intellectual virtues while being poor at critical thinking. I argue against this claim. In doing so, I attempt to shed light on the exact sense in which the skills proper to intellectual virtues implicate the skills proper to critical thinking. With respect to the second question, I offer a few reasons for thinking that the fostering of intellectual virtues may be a better educational aim than the fostering of critical thinking. I also address some of Siegel’s arguments to the contrary.
Special Thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing for their financial support for this event.
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