In the UK’s ‘Times Education Supplement’ of 18 February, an article by Dale Bassett of the think-tank ‘Reform’ looks at the issue of what should be taught for the country’s ’21st-century society and economy’. Bassett stresses that ‘Problem solving, critical thinking, data manipulation and analysis, the structuring of an argument’ are ‘transferable, high-level cognitive skills everyone will need.’ Apart from the point that critical thinking includes argument structuring (and much of the other two), the point is significant. Bassett goes on to conclude that students will need to develop ‘skills that cross subjects and specialisms, skills that will be useful for all and in all walks of life.’ Critical thinking certainly earns its keep in this skill-development.
Critical thinking as essential for us to distinguish truth from falsehood and to make better choices
In his new book (‘Rationality: What it is. Why it seems scarce. Why it matters’), the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker has argued in favour of