Theoretical Framework

The key objective of this project is not the acquisition of theoretical knowledge as such, but the development of critical thinking-related competences and skills. All modules in DeCRIT’s learning programme should, therefore, follow a process-focused approach within their own methodologies, learning strategies and teaching units.

A typical “critical thinking” process could be divided as follows:

  • “suggestions, in which the mind leaps forward to a possible solution;
  • an intellectualization of the difficulty or perplexity into a problem to be solved, a question for which the answer must be sought;
  • the use of one suggestion after another as a leading idea, or hypothesis, to initiate and guide observation and other operations in collection of factual material;
  • the mental elaboration of the idea or supposition as an idea or supposition (reasoning, in the sense on which reasoning is a part, not the whole, of inference); and testing the hypothesis by overt or imaginative action. (Dewey 1933: 106–107)“

Consequently, in developing this process there are some “mental acts” the learner would be using:

  • “Observing: One notices something in one’s immediate environment. Or one notes the results of an experiment or systematic observation.
  • Feeling: One feels puzzled or uncertain about something. One wants to resolve this perplexity. One feels satisfaction once one has worked out an answer.
  • Wondering: One formulates a question to be addressed.
  • Imagining: One thinks of possible answers.
  • Inferring: One works out what would be the case if a possible answer were assumed. Or one draws a conclusion once sufficient relevant evidence is gathered.
  • Knowledge: One uses stored knowledge of the subject-matter to generate possible answers or to infer what would be expected on the assumption of a particular answer.
  • Experimenting: One designs and carries out an experiment or a systematic observation to find out whether the results deduced from a possible answer will occur.
  • Consulting: One finds a source of information, gets the information from the source, and makes a judgment on whether to accept it.
  • Identifying and analyzing arguments: One notices an argument and works out its structure and content as a preliminary to evaluating its strength. It is an important part of a critical thinking process in which one surveys arguments for various positions on an issue.
  • Judging: One makes a judgment on the basis of accumulated evidence and reasoning.
  • Deciding: One makes a decision on what to do or on what policy to adopt. “

Taken and adapted from “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy” on Critical Thinking.

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