Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 25, Issue 2, Summer 2010

Yoram Harpaz
Pages 5-17

Conflicting Logics in Teaching Critical Thinking

The article aims at (1) organizing the theoretical ideas of critical thinking on the basis of an overall and systematic conception of education, (2) exposing tensions and contradictions in the various conceptions of critical thinking and (3) suggesting a directing principle for the teaching of critical thinking. In order to achieve these far-reaching aims, the author projects “The Cognitive Map of Instruction” developed by Zvi Lamm on the discourse of critical thinking. Through this “map” it seems that all sub-trends of teaching critical thinking may be divided into three defined “logics,” and that these sub-trends harbor two kinds of internal contradictions: between the different “logics” of teaching, and between their pattern of teaching and the idea of critical thinking. Since none of the three “logics” suggested by Lamm (1976) in “The Cognitive Map of Instruction” suits the purpose of teaching critical thinking, the article turns away from this “map,” that served it so well to locate and expose the various trends of critical thinking. This turn is made on behalf of another idea of Lamm—that of undermining pedagogy. This well-rooted idea may direct the pedagogy of critical thinking toward a coherent and effective instruction.