Monday, July 11, 2011

The Undercover Philosopher & critical thinking

I have long meant to read and review this important book. See also the web site for The Undercover Philosopher. Here is the Introduction.

I'm guessing that this could be one of the best introductions to critical thinking in a practical way, beyond the usual compendia of logical fallacies and guides to informal logic.

Here is a video from the case files of the Undercover Philosopher:

This book feeds into my project initiated a few years ago, under the title "Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking." This is could also be called metacritical thinking. I aim to evaluate various theories and practices of critical thinking.

I sent this comment to the author on 28 April 2008:
From the looks of the introduction, this book is right on point. [. . . .] I am especially interested in the philosophical dimension. Your capsule summary of the practical meaning of historical philosophical debates is pretty much on point. I only disagree that the Frankfurt School feeds into postmodernism. Some have tried to use late Adorno for such purposes, but I think this gambit is pretty flimsy. There is, of course, a tendency for the contemporary purveyors of a smorgasbord of continental doctrines to blend them all together, but, paradoxically, I think there's an implicit and not entirely honest selectively at work in what gets appropriated.

Interesting that you should mention Kant. This evening I attended a talk on Hume and Kant, which was quite interesting as an introduction, but the speaker herself couldn't draw the appropriate conclusions about the difference between the 18th century and now. The opposition between foundationalism and skepticism should have been left behind a long time ago. Oddly, nobody understood my point that once you drop the demand for absolute certainty, your philosophical agenda becomes completely transformed. However, I have yet to see the appropriate conclusions being drawn even among those with an academic training in philosophy.

All of the chapter and subchapter headings bespeak issues of great interest. The first ones I would want to see are the section "Media Misrepresentations: Training, Ideology, Careerism, Politics, and Organization", "Big Picture Assumptions", and Chapter 6—the philosophical chapter.
Now there is no need for you to concern yourself with any of what you just read. The book is very down to earth and is intended for the average person.

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